Prestea Communicators for Development is pleading with government to immediately intervene in the laying off of about 1,500 workers of Goldfields Ghana which is expected to affect most of its miners at the Tarkwa mine.
The President of the Prestea Communicators for Development, Francis Eshun told Beach Business Digest that the mining communities is already counting it lost on the dwindling gold prices and the fact that about 80% of the residents in Tarkwa, Bogoso, Prestea and adjourning towns depends on the mining industries to survive with their families so laying off about 1,500 of the worker of Goldfields means a lot of trouble for the country at large.
“Government must use his good office to intervene in this issue for the company to reverse their decision, because it poses a great security threat to the people of Prestea, Huni Valley and Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality.”
Early this week, Beach Business Digest sighted letters from the company seeking to lay off some 1,700 worker of the company which will slated to take effect this month December, 2017.
Goldfields this morning told Citi Business News it had to undertake the layoffs due to the current lifespan of the mine which stands at between five and six years, and cannot purchase a new fleet because of the short payback period.
This is the second time in three years that the mining firm has embarked on such a massive retrenchment exercise.
In 2014 it laid off about 400 of its workforce over similar concerns.
Goldfields Ghana’s Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs Mr. David Johnson, confirming the retrenchment exercise to Citi Business News, explained that the company has changed its mining model at the mine from owner mining operations to contractor operations, because it will operate at a loss if it goes on with its previous model.
”We are changing our business model from an owner binder to the contract binder, previously Goldfields acquired and maintained the mining fleets. Now what we are doing right now in 2017, our mining fleet has changed and will need to be replaced now looking at the types of mines that we have which is five to six years of active mining, if we were to pump that money into fleet replacement we will not actually be able to recruit that money back because we are talking of a huge capital investment here.
So now we have to look at our options. You have a contracted miner on the side who has fleets already and that are new and can be more efficient so that has actually influenced decision, the fact that we have an engine mining fleet and also a relatively limited life supply”.
According to Mr. Johnson the retrenchment will affect a number of its departments.
”Our mining department and our HME which is the Heavy Mining Equipment provides that we maintain our fleet, those aspects of our business are being given to our contractors and so the workers who work in these various departments, most of them would be retrenched,” he said.
Sacked workers to be reemployed
He however adds that majority of the workers that will be laid off will be reemployed by the contractor who will take over mining activities of the mine.
”It’s important to add however that we have done a similar exercise a year ago where over eighty percent of the retrenched workers were actually absorbed by the contractor, so it’s not the case that you leave your employees and that is the end of the story, we actually engaged the contactors to ensure that as many people as possible are reengaged by the contractors”.
Beach Business Digest/Citi Business News/Beachfmonline.com