Tati Nickel Mining Company has confirmed that it is in the process of laying off some of its employees in order to achieve sustainability.
Although the company did not disclose the number of jobs that were on the line, impeccable sources indicate that the company has resolved to retrench at least 160 of its workers.
Responding to Sunday Standard enquiries on the looming retrenchments, Tati Nickel Managing Director, Sebetlela Sebetlela, said declining ore grades have necessitated an emphasis in cost management.
“Tati Nickel Mining Company is the lowest grade nickel producer in the world and this presents unique challenges in the company’s operating environment. The company intends to be sustainable over its mine life and current staff reduction exercise will be done to the extent necessary to achieve sustainability. The number of affected employees will depend on the effectiveness of cost savings initiatives currently in progress,” said Sebetlela.
With regard to the cadre that would be affected by the retrenchments, Sebetlela said the review of his staffing arrangements with a view to reducing costs would be done across the board and “is not limited to specific cadres”.
He added that TNMC is carrying out technical evaluations of its various resources to ensure sustainable and optimal exploitation of its resources on the back of the challenges it is facing.
In a bid to mitigate against the negative impact, Sebetlela said the company is carrying out exploration in adjacent areas to the mine to discover new sources of ore.
He admitted that the looming retrenchments in his company will obviously have an impact on its business partners and contractors, adding that “their responses will however be decided by themselves” and TNMC has no role in their decisions.
Sebetelela said TNMC has launched a variety of initiatives to control costs and achieve sustainability.
“All options are carefully considered, in collaboration with labour representatives, to obviate staff reductions where possible and retrenchments are only implemented when no feasible options are available,” he said.
The managing director recently admitted that production at the mine was set to fall on the back of declining ore grades.
Moolman’s, one of the companies contracted by TNMC, has already informed over 300 of its employees of their impending retrenchments on the back of the evolving situation at the mines where they have major operations.