Debswana Diamond Mine has terminated a mining contract with Majwe Mine (a company it sub-contracted) two years after signing the deal to help it extend the life of its diamond mine in Jwaneng.
WHY IT MATTERS: Majwe mine employs around 750 people who boost the economy of Jwaneng town. The sudden termination of contract has adverse effects on Jwaneng and may lead to massive unemployment.
WHY DID DEBSWANA TERMINATE CONTRACT: This has not been explained officially. The nine-year contract was terminated just two years after it was signed in 2019. A union representing all mining workers in the country said Debswana is switching techniques to rely on technology for its mining needs meaning that fewer people will be required to do the work.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: A public relations officer from Debswana said in a statement that operations at the Cut-9 project (a mining expansion project) will continue with Debswana doing most of the work by itself.
- Though Debswana has pledged to absorb some of Majwe mining workers it is not clear how many workers will be employed.
WHAT DO OTHERS SAY: Jwaneng Town Council Mayor, Olga Ditsie lamented that the termination of Majwe will have a major impact on the town as most residents had become dependent on the partnership between the two mining companies for both economic and social empowerment.
Ditsile said the mood in the township mine is somber with a lot of unanswered questions on what the transition really meant for them as residents of Jwaneng who have come to rely on the partnership of these two mining companies.
She said that their biggest fear is loss of employment especially during these trying times when the rest of the world is faced with the challenge of an economic melt-down due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The affected workers could not comment on the issue for fear of victimization yet they remain hopeful they might be retained.
WHAT IS CUT-9: It is a Debswana mine expansion project that was aimed at extending the lifespan of Jwaneng Mine up to 2035. The expansion costs more that P20 billion.