Popular mining firm, Gold Fields Ghana, has disclosed plans to dismiss about 1,500 of its workers. The massive retrenchment will reportedly take effect this month, December, 2017.
Gold Fields’ Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs Mr. David Johnson who spoke to Citi Business News on the issue, said that the lay-off will mainly affect mining fleet maintenance workers.
”Our mining department and our HME which is the Heavy Mining Equipment provides that we maintain our fleet, those aspects of our business are being given to our contractors and so the workers who work in these various departments, most of them would be retrenched,” he said.
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Reason for Gold Fields’ Lay-off
Mr. Johnson revealed that Gold Fields is left with no option than to drop the said number of workers due to the current lifespan of the mine which stands between five and six years as well as their inability purchase a new fleet owing to the short payback period.
Throwing more light on this, Mr. Johnson disclosed that the company has changed its mining model from owner binding operations to contractor operations, because it will operate at a loss if it goes on with its previous model. This simply means that instead of the company acquiring new mining fleets to replace old ones from time to time, they will rather hire a contractor who already owns a new and more efficient fleet to operate the mine.
This is not the first time Gold Fields Ghana embarked on a massive retrenchment. Recall that in 2014, the mining company laid off 400 workers over similar reasons. However, Gold Fields Head of Corporate Affairs hinted that majority of the workers that will be laid off will be reemployed by the contractor who will take over activities of the mine.
Making reference to a similar exercise which the company carried out a year ago, he pointed out that over 80% of the retrenched workers were at the time, absorbed by the hired contractor.
About Gold Fields
Gold Fields Limited is currently one of the largest gold mining firms in the world. The company has been in existence as far back as 1887 as Gold Fields of South Africa. It was however, a merger between the South African firm and Gencor Industries in 1998 that formed Gold Fields Limited which has wider coverage across the globe.
Per the company’s website, it is a globally diversified producer of gold with eight operating mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa with attributable annual gold-equivalent production of approximately 2.2 million ounces.
Coming down to Ghana, Gold Fields has two operating mines – the Tarkwa and Damang Gold Mines.