Mechanisation does not necessarily lead to job losses - CNBC Africa

Mechanisation does not necessarily lead to job losses

Mining

by Trust Matsilele 0

Mining experts attending the Joburg Indaba have allayed fears of labour unions saying mechanisation presented new job opportunities.

Norman Mbazima, chief executive of [DATA KIO:Kumba Iron Ore] said mechanisation does not necessarily result to job losses as perceived by many especially the labour movement.

“Unlike before when we solely relied on labour, now due to mechanisation we rely more on planners who might incorporate even injured miners,” said Mbazima.

(READ MORE: Mechanising mines in South Africa a double-edged sword)

The labour sector has in the recent past come out guns blazing with regards to perceived jobs losses that come with mechanisation.

[DATA LON:Lonmin]’s chief executive Ben Magara in support of Mbazima and said unlike what is generally perceived, no mine could retrofit as every mineral deposit had an appropriate method.

“If we achieve mechanisation within 10 years, we would have achieved it in the shortest term possible, 20 years would be medium term and 30 years long term,” added Magara.

Magara, turning to his platinum producing company, said the company was recovering from a five month strike.

“The three year wage agreement signed with Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) has a productivity clause in it. We have achieved pre-strike productivity levels within two months,” he added.

Urging delegates - mainly mining executives - Magara said engagement was critical in resolving challenges in the sector.

(READ MORE: Troubled platinum miners face impending retrenchment)

He added that there were also other complexities that the sector has to deal with such as safety and promoting healthy living.

“There is growing resentment with what we are not doing especially with regards to our workers and communities.”

Magara warned that the currently employed 'winner takes all' strategy wasn’t effective.

“The approach of 'winner takes all' does not work, what we need is the middle ground,” he said.

"There are competing interests for a small pie." 

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