Lusaka, Zambia — 27 November 2012 – Employees at mines in Zambia “’ Africa’s biggest copper producer “’ are demanding pay increases of as much as 50% for 2013, according to a statement by the nation’s biggest mineworkers’ union.
Bloomberg News quotes Mineworkers Union of Zambia president Chishimba Nkole as saying that talks with companies began in October and are set to conclude by the end of the year, when the current wage agreement expires. The talks affect Glencore International plc, which owns the Mopani copper mine; Vedanta Resources plc, owners of Konkola Copper Mines; and Jinchuan Group’s Chibuluma mine, he added.
While pay demands at most operations are for increases of less than 50%, “we feel there is the justification in some cases, where the wages are very low,” for raises of that percentage, Nkole said.
Zambia produced 668,000t of copper last year, ranking it as the world’s sixth-largest miner of the metal, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website. Output of cobalt was 6,600t, placing the southern African country fifth in the world, it said.
Zambia’s economy will probably grow 7% next year and inflation won’t exceed 6% by the end of 2013, finance minister Alexander Chikwanda said last month.
Power supplier Copperbelt Energy Corporation and China Nonferrous Metals Company’s Luanshya mine are also involved, Nkole added. The talks don’t apply to First Quantum Minerals Limited, where the Zambian Industrial Relations Court in September awarded workers a 13% increase this year and 12% in 2013, he pointed out.
At the Chibuluma copper operation, about 370km north of Lusaka, workers proposed a 40% raise, the Zambian Post reported last week. Mine management later denied that, and Nkole said the union had demanded a 25% increase there.
Miners at Chibuluma, which Jinchuan bought through its US$1.36 billion takeover of Metorex Limited last year, secured a 17% increase in March. Mopani awarded its employees the same percentage increase the previous month.
Source: Bloomberg News. For more information, click here.