Navachab on sale

By: ADAM HARTMAN  5.15.13

THE Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) is meeting AngloGold Ashanti representatives today to discuss the fate of over 900 workers after the company announced plans to sell its Navachab mine at Karibib.

MUN’s regional organiser, Kleopas Ngwena, said the workers are aware of the plans to sell the mine but also want to know how this will effect them.
Navachab is the second smallest of  AngloGold mines in Africa and has been operating since 1989.
AngloGold Ashanti’s spokesperson in Pretoria, Alan Fine, said there has already been a consultation process with employees, the Namibian government and the community.
According to him, Navachab will be sold as a going concern.
“This means that there will be no impact on the workers’ contracts of employment,” he said.
Reports of a ‘junior miner’ possibly buying the mine were not refuted by Fine.
‘Junior miners’ are mostly from North America and Australia. They are smaller companies that take over established mines with the goal to maximise return on interest by aggressive production with minimum cost as fast as possible. This aggressive stance is feared to lead to a reduction of workforce.
“We can’t disclose who the parties that have expressed interest and have been shortlisted are, but yes, one would imagine that bidders are likely to be smaller companies. That is obviously not the sole consideration. Considerations are rather based on our assessment of the capacity of interested parties to operate the mine,” Fine said, adding that the future development of Navachab was important to AngloGold because of its “responsibility to Namibia and the employees”.
As for the price AngloGold is hoping to get for Navachab, Fine said that the company may have “something in mind” but it was not something to make public.
Asked why Navachab is being sold, he said AngloGold Ashanti sought to rationalise its capital investments, and given the strain on the capital budget and the desire to develop other larger mines elsewhere, the choice was to “tie up” the capital by disposing of Navachab.
“The decision was that Navachab was one operation we would be able to sell and channel the capital to other work,” he said.
On Monday AngloGold Ashanti announced that it will remove about N$4,6 billion of operating costs; seek to dispose of Navachab mine before the end of 2013; and develop another mine for a possible further asset sale this year.