Namibia’s largest diamond miner, Namdeb, said it was implementing a voluntary retrenchment process as it battles to slash overheads a n d remain afloat as the impact of the global economic crisis hits developing econ o mies.
Namdeb, which is owned 50-50 by De Beers and the Namibian government, said its m ining vessels had been in the docks since December when the company shut down bu s iness towards the festive holidays.
Hilifa Mbako, group manager external affairs and corporate communications at Nam deb, said Wednesday mining vessels at the company’s marine mining unit, De Beers Marine Namibia (DBMN), are still docked, adding that they might start mining in t wo weeks’ time.
Mbako said that management had a programme to slash overheads and maximise cash flow, noting that apart from the voluntary retrenchment process, some workers wo u ld be redeployed while others would be forced to retire.
Should voluntary retrenchment fail to yield the desired results, management woul d be forced to wield the axe but the number of workers who are likely to lose th e ir jobs had not been released.
“We have revised our mining plans for 2009 in line with demand and built into th ose plans, the capacity to change production to meet evolving demand in the mark e t. By being proactive now, we will be prepared to expand the business when the e c onomic recovery begins,” Mbako said.
According to him, the company still remains hopeful of the prospects of the reco very of the diamond industry, stressing “we are retaining our core capabilities a nd talents to still grow the business in future.
“At De Beers Marine, vessels are still laid up and will start mobilising to retu rn to the mining area from 15 February 2009. This will inevitably result in redu c ed staffing levels across the organisation.
“As such, alternatives such as voluntary separation (retrenchment), redeployment and early retirement will be exhausted prior to any involuntary separations,” M b ako said.
He stressed that a plan to retrench would remain on the cards and expressed hope that diamond mining industry remains viable in the long term.