Kaleb Nghishidivali

Following the news that B2Gold mine in Otjozondjupa region announced a phase of closure of its Otjikoto Mine, labour analyst raised his concerns. It appears that the closure will catastrophically affect many employees. About 1000 workers will be affected and also businesses countrywide.  

Labour analyst Jauch Herbert in an interview with OTJIFM this afternoon said this closure will affect employees that are employed in B2Gold mine, and it will also affect businesses were gold is being supplied.

With the issue of high unemployment rate in the country Herbert said this closure will worsen the unemployment rate in the country, which is already at an all-time high.

“This will automatically increase the unemployment rate, as these opportunities will go and there will be nothing to replace them. Looking at our country’s employment rate we are suffering and this is another way of causing catastrophic results in our fellow brothers and sisters,” he said.

Herbert stated that, the towns of Otjiwarongo and Otavi will be the more affected towns in the country.

“This towns will not be affected now but in the future, they will experience the impact it will cause to its businesses, families and the municipality. Some of the residents will not be able to pay their bills as a result of retrenchment,” he added.

Furthermore, the labour analyst said not only employees will be affected in their capacities, but, this will also result in families to suffer as some of the bread winners will no longer be able to provide.   

According to the B2Gold statement the phased downscaling of operations is scheduled to commence during the first quarter of 2024.

“The first gold was poured on December 2014 and the operation reached commercial production on 1 March 2015. The most recent approved life-on-mine plan indicates that a current mining life of approximately nine years (beginning 2023) – unless a significant open pit discovery or extension to the underground reserves is discovered. Based on the most recent life-on-mine, the open pit end of life will likely be the end of 2024, with only 50% mining tonnage capacity required in 2024,” the statement read.

The gold producer said the last year of full open pit mining production will be 2023.

According to the statement, B2Gold remains committed to the Otjikoto Mine and continues to invest a considerable amount of money in exploration with the hopes that the project’s life can be extended.

The listed miner said it has begun retrenchment negotiations with the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN).

Employees will be informed of the plans and critical time-line for the mine. They will be provided with the accurate information on payouts and notice and notice other relevants alternatives.  

According to its production figures, the Otjikoto Mine produced 60,068 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2022, which included a monthly production record of 30,493 ounces of gold in December 2022.

B2Gold Namibia is a 90% owned subsidiary of B2Gold Corp, with the remaining 10% owned by EVI Mining Company Limited, a Namibian broad-based economic empowerment group.

April 14, 2023

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