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Zambian government to meet mining firms over looming job cuts, says minister

LUSAKA — Zambian government officials will meet mining companies next week to discuss problems facing the industry and ways to minimise job losses sweeping the sector, labour minister Fackson Shamenda said on Saturday.

The job cuts hitting Africa’s second-biggest copper producing nation could get worse as companies scale down operations due to electricity shortages and higher production costs, the Zambia Chamber of Mines said on Wednesday.

“We are going meet with CEOs of mining firms to look at their problems in order to reduce the number of people who are going to be declared redundant,” Mr Shamenda said.

Zambian power companies and mining firms agreed in August to cut power supply to the mines by 30% due to a power deficit that has risen to 985 megawatts (MW) in September from 560 MW in March.

Commodities giant Glencore’s Zambian unit, Mopani Copper Mines (MCM), has already indicated it plans to lay off more than 3,800 workers due to lower metal prices and high production costs.

Mr Shamenda said the government had asked Mopani Copper Mines to conclude negotiations with its labour unions before serving his ministry with the notice on job cuts.

Earlier in September, China’s CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines put 1,600 staff at its Baluba operation on forced leave and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), owned by Vedanta Resources did the same with 133 employees.

Mr Shamenda did not say exactly when the meeting would take place next week.


Source – BDLive