More than 2,000 unionised workers at Barrick Gold’s Lumwana copper mine in Zambia are on strike, demanding to know what will happen to them when the business is closed.
In January, Zambia increased mineral royalties for open pit operations by 20%, prompting Barrick to suspend operations at Lumwana copper mine, unless an agreement could be reached.
The mine is expected to produce 70 to 80 million pounds (Mlbs) of copper this year at C1 cash costs of $1.90 to $2.15 per pound, assuming a suspension, the company said.
According to Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda: “There are discussions and I am confident that this matter will be resolved by the end of the day.”
In December, Zambia’s Chamber of Mines warned that the new royalties would result in shaft closures and 12,000 redundancies.
Zambia President Edgar Lungu said that the government would not allow jobs to be lost at the mine due to Barrick Gold’s proposal to close it.
In 2014, the mine produced 214Mlbs of copper at C1 cash costs of $2.08 per pound and C3 fully allocated costs of $2.76 per pound.
Lumwana copper mine supports nearly 4,000 direct jobs.
Image: Zambia President Edgar Lungu. Photo: courtesy of US Embassy Addisababa.