MANWU hands Husab over to MUN

With the construction of the huge Husab uranium mine completed, the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) yesterday officially “handed-over the mine” to the Mine Workers Union of Namibia (MUN) to in future deal with all industrial relations on the site.

The construction of the Husab Uranium Mine was everything but smooth sailing. “Most of the time the public didn’t know what happened behind the scene. But it wasn’t easy to keep 4 500 contractor employees happy,” said Erongo Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua yesterday in Swakopmund.
According to the Governor, “most of the bigger industrial relation things were very contained”, even from the media. Mutjavikua said that it was important to him, to immediately and timeously address any employment issues, as they not only reflected on his performance, but it was especially crucial to protect this huge direct foreign investment in Namibia.
“Husab started out at a time when mass unemployment was a problem. Areva put their mine on care and maintenance and Rössing was downsizing. Our only hope was to maintain and keep this baby (Husab) very safe,” Mutjavikua said.
During the peak of the construction close to 6 000 people were operating on the mine site. As the construction concluded there are currently about 400 contractors left, while Swakop Uranium is employing about 1 500 people, Swakop Uranium CEO Zheng Keping revealed yesterday. Most of the contractors were in the meantime demobilized.
According to Keping the first batch of Uranium Oxide, also known as Yellow Cake, was produced at the end of 2016 (namib times reported). “We are now busy with the ramp-up operation. According to the design it will take 20 months to reach name-plate operation (starting from December 2016), but we hope to achieve this date quicker,” Keping said.
“When we commenced with the construction of the Husab Mine in 2013, we as the company recognized that Industrial Relations would be a major challenge and risk area, given the fact that more than 4 500 contractor employees from different companies would be working on the Husab Project to construct the mine,” Keping said. It was for this reason that Swakop Uranium and MANWU entered into two agreements in 2014.
“Swakop Uranium committed themselves to the agreements and some challenges were solved. We call on all big capital projects to be treated the same,” said MANWU President Angula Angula yesterday.

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