De Beers, which is facing protest on Kimberley mines sale from NUM, tried to allay its fear of job losses by saying that it was being sold, not closed. De Beers spokesperson Tom Tweedy said, “Kimberley Mines is not being closed, but sold to Ekapa Minerals as a going concern. Being sold as a going concern means that the provisions of Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act will apply. In terms of these provisions, all employee contracts will be transferred to the new owner on terms and conditions which on the whole are no less favourable than they currently enjoy.”
The company spokesperson also denied the claim from NUM that it was consulted. As Tom Tweedy said, “During the course of 2014 and 2015 the company’s management team has had numerous engagements with stakeholders, including the Kimberly Mines NUM branch. He further elaborate by saying that since October 2014 the company hosted at least 10 engagement sessions with the union “where issues relating to Kimberley Mines’ future were raised or potentially could have been raised.
It may be recalled that De Beers Consolidated Mines chose to sell the mine because mining the remaining tailing resources requires a flexible, efficient and low-cost operator. De Beers has a relatively high cost base compared to smaller mining companies. The company said it considered a number of options and the disposal was “the most responsible and feasible” option.
Elaborating further on the subject De Beers spokesperson Tweedy said Kimberley Mines offers an attractive investment opportunity for an experienced operator who can extend the operating life of the mine to 2030 by developing a low-cost operating model. A lower cost diamond producer should be in a position to operate Kimberley Mines more profitably for longer than De Beers.