THE National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is planning to march on De Beers Kimberley Mines headquarters on January 14 to protest against the group’s failure to consult the union about the sale of the mine, it said on Thursday.
De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the local arm of the global De Beers Group, which is part of Anglo American, announced in early December it had sold Kimberley Mines, a tailings retreatment operation employing about 600 people, to Ekapa Mining and Petra Diamonds for R102m. De Beers had been evaluating options for the business, which was approaching the end of its life in 2018.
The NUM said in a statement the failure to consult the union was typical of De Beers’s “bad legacy of extracting our country’s minerals and exploiting our people to the letter”.
“There is nothing to write home about in terms of De Beers corporate social responsibility, beneficiation, providing and facilitating secondary economy, let alone transforming the industry,” it said.
The NUM said Kimberley Mines’ employees were entitled to shares in the company that should have been paid in March 2014, but the company was refusing to pay them.
Abel Madonsela, corporate affairs manager for De Beers Consolidated Mines in Kimberley, said all employees were briefed on the sale process at the outset and were kept informed. The sale of the business was intended to save jobs. Kimberley Mines would be transferred to the new owners as a going concern, including all employees.
Mr Madonsela said the shares due to employees arose from the DBCM empowerment transaction in 2006, in which employees participated. Employees who wished to sell their units, which were valued each year, were able to do so, and the process was under way, but had not been concluded yet.