Glencore’s subsidiary, Optimum Coal Mines, has announced the company will be proceeding with the closure of some of their operations which will result in the retrenchment of between 600 to 700 employees. Earlier this year it was announced that Optimum, had been considering the closure of some of its opencast operations, large portions of the coal processing plants, and associated support services at the mine.

CCMA consultation process
Optimum said they had over the past few months engaged in an extensive CCMA facilitated section 189 consultation process with organised labour and the Department of Mineral Resources in order to determine whether measures were available to avoid the closure of such operations and the resultant job losses. It was demonstrated during these sessions that these operations are financially not viable in the current market conditions and that there are no measures available to avoid the retrenchments.The affected operations will be placed on care and maintenance. If the economic conditions improve, Optimum has said it will consider re-opening these operations. Optimum said it currently intends to retain sufficient mining operations and processing capacity to ensure the continued supply of coal to the Hendrina Power Station.

Glencore has agreed to provide funding to Optimum to enable Optimum to pay the full retrenchment costs as tabled at the CCMA and will offer assistance to affected employees through re-training programmes to enable them to plan for the future. This includes training in areas such as portable skills and financial management. The retrenchment packages offered are above the industry standard. Optimum will also consider redeploying some of the employees to other parts of the business should vacancies be available

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