Paladin to retrench 110 workers in Malawi’s Kayerekela mine

By Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times

Australian uranium miner Paladin Energy would restructure the mining operations at Kayelekera in Karonga that would result in the retrenchment of 110 employees.

The miner confirmed to Nyasa Times when asked about the job cuts.

Paladin international affairs General Manager Greg Walker told Nyasa Times: “We have reviewed staff numbers and are retrenching 110 national employees.”

The development comes after the uranium miner reported that Kayelekera Mine output jumped 20.9 percent in the quarter ending December 2012.

Greg Walker of Paladin: Staff reduction necessary at this time
Greg Walker of Paladin: Staff reduction necessary at this time

But Walker explained: “While production has gone up, the uranium price has not; hence Kayelekera continues to operate at a loss.”

He added: “We had warned government that this situation was unsustainable and would lead to job losses unless the uranium price improved, which it has not.”

In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, Paladin said the staff reduction is in” response to economic pressures on the Company caused by the continuing depressed uranium price”

Walker said apart from the local staff expatriate positions are also being reduced by 24 per cent from 118 to 90.

He said the company  has advised the Ministry of Labour of this move; informed the Kayelekera  Local Staff Association (LSA), which represents  national employees and notified its workforce.

Paladin also said Mota-Engil Malawi Ltd, which has a contract to carry out mining  operations at Kayelekera, already has reduced its employment level by 23 per cent from 234 people to 181,

“However, of these 53 positions, Mota-Engil has been able to redeploy 38 people elsewhere in its Malawian operations, so that actual retrenchments were 15 employees. As a result, total Malawi national employment at  KM has reduced from 847 (PAL 613/Mota 234) to 682 (PAL 501/Mota 181), which is a 20 per cent reduction,” said the statement.

Paladin said it  has also engaged the services of a  Malawian  company which specializes in providing  advice and  counseling to affected employees.

Walker said the company “will consider retrenched employees for re-employment if  redundant positions are ever re-established” at Kayerekela.

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