MINING FIRM, Gold Fields Limited has justified its planned move to lay off some of its workers at its Tarkwa mine in the Western Region due to a scheduled shift from owner mining to contractual mining.
Executive Vice President of Gold Fields, West Africa Region, Alfred Baku told the media at a press briefing on Tuesday December 12, 2017, in Accra that to remain a sustainable mining company, Gold Fields was taking steps to reduce its operation costs which he said have been on the increase for some time now.
The cost of blasting and haulage at the mine has increased over the years due to the ageing nature of the mine, he said.
Reagents, labour costs have also increased so high over the years, according to Mr. Baku.
Labour cost over the last five years for instance, he said, has increased in dollar terms to about 60 percent “and that’s a massive cost to our operations.”
That, according to him, has forced the company to evaluate its business model.
On the back of the evaluation, Mr. Baku indicated that a decision to use technology to automate the business was made, giving room to revisit the contractual mining system.
The evaluation process is expected to end in two weeks after which the company will know exactly how many workers will be laid off, he disclosed.
“We haven’t finalized the evaluation yet but there are benefits to be derived,” according to him.
Contractual mining is a form of business outsourcing and it involves the process of giving out a portion of a mining activity of a mining firm to an outside company which has as its core competence the outsourced work.
It helps companies to free up capital which would have otherwise been invested in acquiring equipment, among others.
But mineworkers are resisting the move to return Gold Fields to contractual mining.
It has been speculated that the move if pushed through successfully, is going to see about 1,700 staff from the about 2,250 workforce of Gold Fields at Tarkwa being laid off.
Some workers who are likely to be affected had reportedly told some media outlets that Gold Fields is embarking on the operation with the excuse that its current Life of Mine stands between 5 and 6 years and therefore, cannot purchase new mining fleet, considering the ‘short payback period.’
Gold Fields started its operations at the Tarkwa mine some 24 years ago.
However, Mr. Baku is arguing that the resistance from the workers who are likely to be affected is normal because for him “change comes with resistance.”
BY Melvin Tarlue
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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