Sunday, 12 February 2017

Luanshya Copper Mines Recalls 150 Workers From Forced Leave

Outside the slag treatment plant at Luanshya Copper Mines
By Paul Shalala in Luanshya

CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines has pumped US$3 million into its slag treatment plant which has created 150 jobs for the miners who were last year sent on forced leave when Baluba Mine was placed under care and maintenance.

The mine was placed under care and maintenance following the drop in the copper prices at the international market and the reduction of electricity supply to the mine after the reported reduction of water levels in the Kariba dam.

Power supply to the mine was reduced from 55 megawatts to 40 megawatts in a bid to ration power in the mines following a countrywide energy deficit.

1,200 workers at Baluba mine were sent on forced leave and since then, they have been receiving a minimal salary per month while a good number of them decided to move on.

CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines Spokesperson Sydney Chileya says following the rise in copper prices, the mine has decided to recall 150 workers who will work at the slag treatment plant.

“So far, 41 artisans, boilers and electricians have resumed work following the injection of the $3 million to revive the plant. Once these workers make the necessary preparations for full operations, our plan is that in the coming weeks we will have the full team in place,” said Mr Chileya, while leading this blogger on a tour of the plant.

According to an employment schedule by the mine, dozens of workers will be recalled per week until the number 150 is reached at the end of March.

The first batch of 41 recalled workers has since finished the mandatory two day induction training.

At the time this blogger visited the plant on Thursday, the workers were on their first full day at work.

And one of the recalled workers Paul Malama says life was hard when he was on forced leave as he was unable to meet most of his family’s basic needs.

“I spent the last one year and four months at home. It was not easy to keep up with home needs. I had been praying to God for a miracle and now it has happened,” said the smiling Malama.

Despite the company recalling only 150, the full capacity of the slag treatment plant is 160.

“At this plant, we need between 150 and 160 workers. At its peak, this plant is a hive of activity,” said Golden Chilukutu, the Plant Manager.
Luanshya Mayor Nathan Chanda

CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines is the largest employer in the mining town of Luanshya.

“We are happy that Luanshya Copper Mines has pumped in money in its slag treatment plant which has created jobs for our brothers from Baluba who were sent on forced leave. This is the way it is supposed to be,” said Luanshya Mayor Nathan Chanda in an interview.

Meanwhile, the stock piling of slag just outside the plant has started and work is expected to be at its peak in the next three weeks.

In the last two months, the mine has had two workers strikes over salary increments.

However, mine management and the mine unions reached an agreement on monetary incentives for the workers and negotiations for the next collective agreement are expected to resume in October.

CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines is a Chinese owned company which is a subsidiary of NFCA Mining, a conglomerate which runs mines and smelters across the Copperbelt.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was also aired as a TV report on TV1 main news on 10 February 2017. It can be watched here: Luanshya Mine Report

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