Sunday, June 16, 2024

Mine workers union declares Lucara MD ‘unfit’ for duty 

The Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has called for the resignation of the Lucara Botswana Managing Director, Naseem Lahri. This comes after what the union calls a breach of business ethics and conduct by Lahri. The union has not stated the exact breach but on Friday released a statement claiming that the company is targeting some of its members at the Karowe mine following an investigation that was initiated by Lucara Diamond Corporation in Canada. 

“On or about the 22nd June 2022, Lucara Diamond Corporation in Canada instructed its subsidiary Lucara Botswana to commission an investigation of the security department following allegations of maladministration and unethical conduct at Karowe Mine. The investigation was prompted by an incident involving the security manager”, reads part of a statement from the BMWU. 

The BMWU said that it has since resolved to defend its fifty (50) members under the security department of Lucara Botswana against what it calls a systematic targeting by Lahri. 

“The Managing Director of Lucara Botswana is complicit in this unethical conduct. Her motive to target these security personnel is to bury and hide whatever infractions that were picked up from the investigation report, which infractions she sanctioned and was a part of”, said the union. 

The said that the planned retrenchment of 47 security employees by Lucara should be halted forthwith and that a joint inspection between the Ministry of Mines and Labour should be conducted at Lucara Botswana as matter of urgency. 

While Sunday Standard was unable to reach Lucara Diamond Corp regarding the unions allegations, the company recently reported a higher profit despite revenue declining as diamond prices softened in the latter part of 2022, according to the miner’s recently released financials. 

The junior diamond miner sells its rough diamonds through three separate and distinct sales channels: through the HB sales agreement, on the Clara digital sales platform and through quarterly tenders. The sales agreement with HB for Karowe’s diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats production accounted for 60 percent of total revenues recognized in 2022. Clara, Lucara’s 100 percent owned proprietary, web-based digital sales platform, transacted approximately 60 percent of the total sales volume transacted during 2022. 

The financial performance for the year ended December 2022 shows that Lucara’s revenue retracted by 7.5 percent to $212.9 million, down from 2021’s $230.1 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell by 15.4 percent to $86.7 million, compared to the $102.5 million in 2021. However, Lucara was able to pull off a profit, reporting net income of $40.4 million, up from $23.8 million in 2021. 

Lucara’s prolific Karowe mine delivered 335,769 carats, slightly lower than 369,390 in 202, with a recovered grade of 12.12 carats per hundred tonnes of direct milled ore, also lower than 12.93 carats in 2021. About 795 Specials, which are diamonds greater than 10.8 carats, were recovered during 2022, representing 7.2 percent weight percentage of total carats recovered. A total of 34 diamonds greater than 100 carats were recovered, including 9 diamonds greater than 200 carats.

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