Business News of Saturday, 6 April 2013
About 330 employees of the Owere Mines Limited (OML) have been laid-off as part of measures by management of the company to temporarily suspend operations, while placing the company on ”care and maintenance’, B&FT has learnt.
The affected workers, who are all junior staff employees of the company, have been served with redundancy letters which took effect from 31st of March this year. Some senior staff workers, including some in managerial positions, have been revealed to also follow suit in due time.
The ongoing retrenchment exercise is said to leave behind only less than 100 workers out of the total of about 482 employees, including casual workers, to carry on with the company’s shift in strategy.
This latest development is said to pave the way for OML’s major shareholding company, Signature Metals Limited — an Australia-based outfit that has taken over management of the company — to proceed with a technical ‘life of mine’ study to accelerate assessment of the Konongo Gold Project’s underground mining potential.
According to Mr. Seth Brantuo, the Mine Manager of OML, the company for some time now has not been making any meaningful profit and has had to largely depend on a monthly financial support of about US$1.6million from its parent company in Singapore, Lions Gold, to run operations.
He recounted the huge operational expenditure the company was confronted with practically as a result of inability to realise the full benefits of its current mining operations — due to the type of rock deposits within their concession, and the ‘limited capacity’ of their plant.
These have been a major source of worry, and are among the core reasons for their resolve to lay-off some of the current workforce while implementing the necessary structures to comprehensively deal with the situation.
The temporary closure is anticipated to last for about 24 months, within which a projected sum of about US$18million will be reinvested into the operations of the company. In addition to this sum, a biox plant (new) estimated at a cost of US$120million is expected to be purchased and installed to boost operations of the Company.
Owere Mines Limited is a Ghanaian/Australian-owned mining company that started its full operations in 2009 at the Asante Akyem North Municipality of the Ashanti Region. Over the few years of its operations in the region, the company has undertaken a number of corporate social responsibility initiatives to better the lives of the people in the host community, as well as other institutions and organisations outside the company’s catchment areas.
Despite the current challenges, the company has pledged to continue rendering its support to the various communities and institutions on its CSR scheme.