Chinese-owned Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) has said no miner will lose their job when operations at Baluba underground shaft are shut down later this year.
LCM management has already informed the government through Mines and Minerals Development Minister Paul Kabuswe that it will close Baluba shaft in the third or fourth quarter of 2022.
Over 1,100 workers are currently involved in the operations at Baluba Mine Shaft.
LCM Public Relations Manager Sydney Chileya said all the over 1000 jobs at Baluba are secure as the mining firm plans to redeploy them when the mine shaft is de-commissioned this year.
Mr. Chileya said Baluba will be shut because it has run out of mineral ore reserves.
He said currently LCM is looking at expanding operations by carrying out feasibility studies on potential mine areas.
LCM is currently operating Muliashi Open pit, Baluba Underground and the slug treatment plant.
“The Minister of Mines (Paul Kabuswe) came through, we assured him that Baluba is closing down between the third and fourth quarter of 2022 but no one is going to lose their job. We will be making an announcement on where workers currently operating at Baluba Mine will be taken. Roughly about 1,100 workers will be affected. In terms of job security the people should not despair, our employees should not worry. Their jobs are secure and this commitment has already been made to the government,” Mr. Chileya said in an interview from Luanshya.
Mr. Chileya dispelled fears among people in Luanshya that jobs will be lost when Baluba shaft is closed.
“We have made a commitment as a company that no one is going to lose their job because of the depletion of copper ore reserves at Baluba Mine. Losing jobs at Baluba won’t happen. If there is anyone who is going to lose their job, it will be as a result of the natural garbage in garbage out- that is retirement, people resigning , going for greener pastures but no one is going to lose their job because the copper has been depleted at Baluba Mine. That will not happen,” Mr. Chileya said.
“The ore reserves at Baluba have run out. Baluba Mine was commissioned in 1973 with a life span of 30 years so it has done its life. We have actually reduced our uptake from Baluba Mine in terms of the ore that we are getting from underground because the reserves have drastically depleted. Even the areas where we are mining now are the areas that ZCCM used to leave out as low grade areas. Those are areas we are currently mining from so by the end of this year we are de-commissioning and shutting down,” he said.
Mr. Chileya said processing the mineral slug commonly known as the Black Mountain at the Luanshya mine site is also helping to sustain LCM.
“We are reprocessing slugs from our slug dump and we are using a stop gap measure. We commenced processing the slug in 2014. One slug dump was just depleted a few months ago. We have gone to another dump site which we are hoping will take us to somewhere around 2025. But that is a long term plan but you know that we are currently running three operations here as a mine. We are running the Muliashi Open pit, Baluba Underground and slug treatment plan. So those are the three units that we are running. Muliashi Reach Plant and the slug treatment plant are both intact and working very well. We are looking at something that will take up the Baluba Underground mine shaft,” he said.
Nonferrous Mining Corporation (CNMC) took over the running of LCM in 2009.
Mr. Chileya further confirmed that the mining company is undertaking exploration works with the aim of opening up alternative mines amid the pending closure of Baluba mine.
“There is an area that we are looking at. We are currently conducting feasibility studies and once feasibility studies are done and we ascertain that the results are good then we will be making that announcement,” Mr. Chileya said.
The economy of Luanshya District is heavily dependent on mining at LCM.