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BY KABELO SEITSHIRO
Companies that were contracted during Debswana Mining Company’s Cut 8 project at the Jwaneng mine– including Majwe Mining Joint Venture are holding their breath following the completion of the project in late November 2018.
Already some of the companies have let go some of their employees while waiting for Debswana to make a key decision before the end of this year.
Debswana on the other hand has since made it clear that it will not automatically award the contract for its upcoming huge project – Cut 9 the previous contractor – Majwe Joint Ventures. The contract between the two companies came to end on 24th November 2018 and Majwe Joint Ventures has already kick started a transition process while still hoping to be awarded the of the Cut 9 contract.
Majwe Joint Ventures’s transition period entails amongst other things - demobilization process, undergoing medical exists for staff and releasing some employees until they secure Cut 9.
Debswana’s outgoing Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo this week confirmed that the Majwe contract will not be automatically renewed. He also confirmed that a process to select a contractor for Cut 9 started earlier this year. He added that a final decision is expected to be made before the year end.
“Cut 9 brings its own challenges and opportunities for improvement taking the lessons from the Cut 8 project,” said Bonyongo.
He believes that it is therefore logical that Debswana wants to take a fresh view and ensure that Cut 9 is an even better success and every opportunity for continuous improvement is maximized.
For his part, Majwe Mining Communications and Community Relations Manager Archibald Ngakaagae said the company has been duly informed that the Cut 9 project will be commenced sometimes in December 2018.
On loaming job losses, Ngakaagae said that as a contract mining company their existence and growth depend on projects, and he added that there is no doubt that if they cannot secure any project there will be high possibility of job losses.
“We have no doubt the employees who have been released would be absorbed into Cut 9,” he stated.
Majwe Mining was contracted by Debswana to mine the Cut 8 Project at the Jwaneng Mine. This was the largest ever contract mining project to have been undertaken in the country commencing in November 2011. The project entailed moving over 156 million bank cubic meters of waste and ore safely and efficiently.
According to Debswana, the Cut 9 project on the other hand will extend the Jwaneng mine’s life by 11 years, to 2035, and allow the extraction of a further 50 million carats.