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 300 job losses imminent at B2Gold

2024-04-03  Otniel Hembapu

 300 job losses imminent at B2Gold

B2Gold Otjikoto Mine, the country’s largest gold producer, is set to start with the voluntary retrenchment of 300 employees this month.

This will result in a huge chunk of workers from the mine’s open pit section being sent home.

Last year, the mine announced its plans to embark upon a phased closure of open mining due to depleted ore reserves, but it did not disclose the number of workers to be affected, as consultations with stakeholders were still ongoing at the time.

The mine’s spokesperson Namasiku Nalisa yesterday confirmed that the voluntary retrenchment process will officially commence this month.

It will be implemented in phases throughout the whole of 2024 until the mine eventually ceases with open pit mining in 2025.

Employing close to 900 workers across its various divisions, the mine had recorded an annual production of 208 598 gold ounces in 2023.

 “B2Gold expects 300 employees to be impacted by retrenchment throughout 2024 – be it through the first voluntary phase or the normal retrenchment process. If the required number of personnel is not reached during the voluntary separation process, impacted positions will be identified, and the selection criteria stipulated in B2Gold Namibia’s retrenchment procedure will be applied to identify personnel for compulsory retrenchment,” said Nalisa.

Asked if the voluntary retrenchment process will only affect employees from the open pit mining section, she said those in the open pit mining section will be mostly affected when compared to others.

“Affected employees are primarily within the open pit mining department. However, the anticipated retrenchment will impact employees across various departments. It is important to note that this process will take place throughout 2024 as the open pit mining operations wind down,” Nalisa added.

Having reached an agreement with the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) in December last year, the mine has now set 15 April as the date to commence with the voluntary retrenchment of 300 workers.

According to the latest notice by the mine, the Labour Commissioner has also been notified of all planned developments and dates around the voluntary retrenchment process.

The future

Despite the looming retrenchments, Nalisa maintained that B2Gold remains committed to its investment in Namibia as evidenced by its substantial exploration budget of N$171 million approved for the 2024 financial year.

 B2Gold acquired the Otjikoto mine through a merger with Auryx Gold Corp in December 2011, and it received its mining licence in December of the following year. 

The construction of the Otjikoto Mine commenced in April 2013.

Within approximately 19 months, the first gold pour occurred in December 2014 – well ahead of schedule.

At the current production rate, the mine is expected to produce between 180 000 and 200 000 ounces of gold this year.

 Production at Otjikoto is expected to be relatively consistent throughout 2024, and it is anticipated to process a total of 3.4 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 1.77 g/t with a process gold recovery of 98.0%.

 Processed ore will be sourced from the Otjikoto pit and the Wolfshag underground mine, supplemented by existing medium and high-grade ore stockpiles.

Capital expenditures in 2024 are expected to total US$33 million [or N$625.3 million], of which approximately US$32 million [or N$606.4 million] is classified as sustaining capital expenditures, and US$1 million is classified as non-sustaining capital expenditures.

Sustaining capital expenditures are anticipated to include US$32 million for deferred stripping and deferred underground development.


2024-04-03  Otniel Hembapu

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