Care and maintenance is looming at Mopani copper mines after some contractors, who run critical operations and production at the mine, last week began sending some of their workers on forced leave while contracts for other workers have not been renewed.
With the ongoing liquidity challenges at Mopani Copper Mines, the Mine-Workers Union of Zambia -MUZ- that represents workers of some of the contractors has disclosed that some employees have been sent on forced leave and those offered monthly contracts not renewed.
MUZ President Joseph Chewe however says the union engaged Mopani Copper Mines management last week and indications are that the mine is working out modalities to move from the short monthly contracts offered to contractors to long binding contracts.
Mr. Chewe has since challenged the contractors to reinstate the workers who have been released, contracts not renewed or those sent on forced leave once these long term contracts are implemented.
He has further called for the consultant, Rothschild of South Africa, to expedite the evaluation process of Mopani that will enable the asset to become financially viable once more and prevent any further job losses and salary delays.
But Mopani Copper mines Public Relations Manager, Nebert Mulenga, says the mine has no intentions of going on care and maintenance and is instead working tirelessly towards resolving the payments owed to some contractors to enable them undertake their various activities fully.