18 March 2019

Namibia: Skorpion Zinc Confirms Refinery Closure Due to Strike

Skorpion Zinc has confirmed the temporary closure of its refinery for a period of five weeks, starting 15 March 2019. The decision to close the refinery follows the depletion of ore stocks as a result of an unprotected strike from February 22, 2019 until March 06, 2019 by employees of mining contractor, Basil Read.

According to Skorpion Zinc's General Manager, Irvinne Simataa, the crippling strike put operations at the mine 14-days behind and resulted in a N$314 million overall loss.

"Every effort is being made to mitigate impacts on customers, on the business as a whole and on employees. Maintenance that was planned for later this year will be undertaken during this time period," reads a statement by Skorpion sent out on Friday.

The statement added that Skorpion Zinc is working to optimise the 2019/2020 financial year business plan so as to minimise the impact over the remainder of the life of its Pit112 project.

Skorpion Zinc recently confirmed that its mining contractor, Basil Read, reported the return to work by its employees who had been on strike. Basil Read is a business partner that was contracted to execute the Pit 112 push back project as a life extension mining project for Skorpion Zinc. Without this life extension project, the mine would have ended its operations in in 2017. A statement issued on Saturday reads that SZ has continued to raise its concerns that recent work stoppages have an enormously negative impact on the business, particularly as this has been the third disruption in the past seven months.

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