Close to 600 employees who were retrenched early this year by Moolman Mining, a company that was doing the excavation work for Tati Nickel Mining Company (TNMC) are still in a deadlock with the company over their retrenchment packages.
The Secretary General of Botswana Miners Workers Union (BMWU), Mbiganyi Ramokate told The Telegraph in an interview on Monday that negotiations are still not complete and the company is yet to hold a second meeting with the union following the first meeting last month which could not resolve the impasse.
“We are yet to convene a second meeting so that we can further negotiate on the benefits of the employees. We are looking forward to that meeting in the near future. Our Joint Negotiations Consultative Committee held its first meeting last month and a consensus could not be reached. However, what really worries us is that, it seems the company is dragging its feet for all of us to put this issue to rest,” he said.
The company has another unresolved issue with BMWU over unfair retrenchments which is currently before the Francistown Industrial Court.
Moolman Mining which is one of the largest surface mining contractors in Africa, announced the closure of its operations at TNMC early this year due to failure to secure and extend another mining contract. Its contract with TNMC ended in December 2015. The company further announced that its closure at the mine was due to the fact that it explored all the commercial options and its operations were no longer viable.
On the other hand, TNMC said that it parted ways with Moolman Mining after the company declined to accept an offer to renew the contract for the reasons only known to its management.
Meanwhile the Public Relations and Marketing Manager at BCL, the company which owns Tati Nickel Mining Company, James Molosankwe revealed to The Telegraph last week that they will soon announce a new contractor who will replace Moolman Mining at TNMC to continue production.
“We will soon announce our new partner who will replace Moolman Mining. We will do that in the near future” he said. He however could not divulge the name of the new contractor.
In addition Molosankwe explained that despite parting ways with Moolman Mining, production at TNMC has been normal mainly due to the fact that the mine is currently depending on its stock piles. He also revealed that TNMC will in the last quarter of this year, re-open its Selkirk Mine in an endeavor to boost its production.
“In the last quarter of this year we will also re-open the Selkirk mine which is also under the Tati Nickel Mine operations. The mine will be operated in an open pit method,” he said.
Selkirk mine was initially operated by TNMC as an underground mine and it is located 15 km from its Phoenix mine. It began operations in 1989.
In 2002, the mine was put under care and maintenance due to the depletion of copper and nickel ores accessible for underground mining.