Anjin Diamond Mine is set to retrench an undisclosed number of workers barely a month after employees downed tools demanding outstanding salaries and better working conditions.
Over 200 workers at the mine demonstrated at the mine last month, demanding outstanding salaries for September and October amid claims that the company, which three years ago claimed to be largest producer of diamonds in the world, was facing viability problems.
The workers returned to work after management promised to pay their outstanding salaries for September on October 30 and on November 20 for last month.
Anjin spokesperson, Martha Chikata confirmed that the company was planning to retrench but would not say how many employees would lose their jobs.
“On retrenchment, like any other business, we try to align our manpower levels with our business activities,” she said.
She said the company still owed workers salaries for October.
“We are in one month salary arrears, for the month of October 2014.This was due to the disruption to our cash flow plans as a result of the unforeseen legal challenges we encountered in Antwerp,” she said.
Zimbabwe is battling to recover $45 million in diamond revenue which was seized in Belgium after the last tender in September when the European country allowed South African firm, Amari Platinum Holdings, to recover part of a $500 million debt owed by state owned miner, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
Anjin, one of the seven firms licenced to mine the vast government-controlled Marange diamond field, is a joint venture between China’s Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co and Zimbabwean state entities and began operations in 2009.
Marange firms have, since 2013, reported diminishing alluvial diamond deposits in the area.
The miners, who have been engaged in open cast operations, said they had hit hard rock and that deep seated conglomerate diamonds were not commercially viable.
Workers, who declined to be named, told The Source on Tuesday that those with expired contracts were being released.
“My contract ended and I was released on November 4. I was only paid $1 200 in gratuity for the two years I worked at the mine,” said one worker.- The Source