Paladin (Africa) Limited is set to retrench 65 Malawian workers at Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Karonga as the company tries to reduce operational costs.
According to an internal memo issued on Thursday, March 26 2020 to all employees, the company said the affected staff will be retrenched 30 days from the issued date.
Reads the memo signed by the general manager Theo Keyter: “The company invites all employees to apply for voluntary redundancy. The company reserves the right to reject certain applications based on the operational requirements of the business.
“Where insufficient numbers of suitable volunteers come forward, Paladin may need to implement an involuntary redundancy process.”
According to the memo, voluntary redundancy entitlements among others, include salary, to the date of termination, notice pay, severance pay, pay for leave, ex-gratia payment and right of first refusal for future employment.
In an interview yesterday, Paladin Africa consultant and senior adviser Grain Malunga said there were 2 000 Malawians working at the plant when it was fully functional, but with the series of retrenchments previously, the number has dropped to 114 and would go down to about 50 after the current retrenchment.
He said: “What is going to happen is they will re-evaluate mineral resources and processes engineering.
“During that period most of the workers will not be needed; hence the call for the voluntary exit.”
Earlier this month, Paladin Africa offloaded 65 percent interest to Lotus Resources Limited and the remaining 20 percent stake to Lily Resources Pty Limited, a move the miner said would reduce its cash expenditure by approximately $5 million (about K3.7 billion) per year in line with the company’s objective of reducing cash expenditure. Prior to the disaster, uranium prices hovered around as high as $73 per pound and were expected to increase overtime, but to date, the price has nose-dived to a record low of between $20 and $25 per pound, a price Paladin argues is not enough to resume production and exportation of the commodity.