The sintering plant
at BHP Billiton’s
Mamatwan manganese
mine in the
Northern Cape
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 June 2009 – Resources giant BHP Billiton has informed the Solidarity trade union that it plans to retrench more than 15% of its employees at the group’s Hotazel Manganese Mines (HMM) in the Northern Cape.

An announcement to this effect here revealed that the process of retrenching a planned 150 of the mine’s nearly 950 employees was started this week at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) in Kimberley.

According to the group, HMM has come under particular pressure due to the drop in the demand for manganese needed for the production of steel.

Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, said the difficult economic conditions were placing tremendous pressure on all companies in all industries.

“However, the pressure on the communities of the Northern Cape is now reaching alarming levels,” Kleynhans emphasised. “The region’s mines – diamonds and manganese in particular – are being affected by the economic climate, he added.

Solidarity maintains that the current consultation process must be utilised to try and limit the effect of the current conditions on the employees of HMM. “There are several alternatives that should be considered first, and therefore the retrenchment of the 150 employees should only be considered as a last resort,” Kleynhans said.

HMM consists of the Wessels and Mamatwan mines, both located just outside Hotazel, as well as the HMM offices in the town.