Maputo — The Anglo-Australian mining company Rio Tinto, which operates a gigantic open cast coal mine at Benga, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, announced on 9 May that it is laying off staff in its Mozambican operations due to losses in 2012 and forecast losses for this year.
A press release from the company’s local subsidiary, Rio Tinto Coal Mozambique (RTCM), did not state how many workers would be laid off but, according to the latest issue of the independent weekly “Savana”, 76 workers will be made redundant. 56 of these are Mozambicans and the other 20 are foreign nationals.
All of them work in the mining research and exploration area, and the redundancies are said to be part of the organizational changes under way in the company.
“The following steps will include optimization of the work force and of its cost basis, in both the support and operational areas”:, said Rio Tinto. “While some areas of the RTCM business will undergo expansion, others will suffer organizational changes, with a reduction in some functions of support and operation”.
The company adds that it is reducing the overall number of foreign workers in RTCM and will speed up the placement of Mozambicans in a growing number of company positions.
The RTCM statement added that Rio Tinto has carried out one of the largest research and exploration programmes in Africa over the past 18 months. This has “generated significant information which will determine the trajectory of RTCM’s development”.