The Khoemacau Copper Mining Company in the North West district has reportedly retrenched 60 of its employees.
The retrenchments follow the company’s recent announcement that it was considering terminating contracts of employment to reduce the size of its workforce.
The company’s Managing Director, John Ferreira notified employees through a letter sent to every individual that the move will likely affect employees across the board and that there is a likelihood of a sizeable number of the company’s employees being declared redundant and having to be released.
It is alleged that all retrenched employees have already been released, with the company now remaining with only 42 staff at its mining site in Somelo village.
“Initially there were 112 employees in total and we let go 60. From the 52 that remains, 10 are on training at Orapa leaving us with only 42 staff in total,” a member of the management team told Voice Money in an interview.
The affected employees, it is alleged, include mining engineers, geologists and administrative staffers.
It is also alleged that Cupric Canyon Capital which is the mother company of Khoemacau has also downsized employees at its satellite office in South Africa.
In a letter Ferreira wrote to employees recently he explained that, “In early 2017 the company commenced with the process of mobilisation for construction of its copper/silver project in the Kalahari copper belt. This process involved the assembly of the project execution team, as well as various advanced engineering and planning activities.”
He explained that the outcome of the activities, specifically external factors, such as power supply uncertainty around the timing of the transmission like project and environmental permitting delays, have led to a decision to move project pre-construction commencement indicatively into the second half of 2018.
Ferreira indicated that during this period of project engineering and design, as well as through the two-year project construction period, there will be limited exploration and care and maintenance work on the company’s project site.
“Thus, the company’s Board has decided to reduce these activities along with related support services, to focus the company’s resources on project development since the company is not generating revenue.”
Ferreira explained that the decision is aimed at reducing expenditure other than in critical areas to safeguard the long-term sustainability of the business.
The Managing Director could not be reached for comment as he was said to be in South Africa with his telephone number not going through.