Friday, July 3, 2015


The Irish company Kenmare Resources on Friday announced that its dredge mine in Moma district, on the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, is working normally after the end of an unofficial strike. According to the company, all employees have now returned to work following the disruption that began on 24 June. This confirms a statement to that effect made by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Pedro Couto, in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Thursday. In mid-February, Kenmare announced that it was making cuts in the size of its workforce to reduce costs. The company said the cost-cutting programme was necessary because of the decline in world market prices for the minerals it mines (ilmenite, rutile and zircon). It originally planned to make 375 redundancies (about 20 per cent of the work force). However, after mediation in March with the workers’ trade union and the Labour Ministry, the total number of redundancies fell to 162. The agreement also included a reduction in shift allowances and a change in work patterns.In today’s statement, Kenmare stressed that it stands by that tripartite agreement. The mine at Moma extracts ilmenite, rutile and zircon from titanium-bearing heavy mineral sands. Ilmenite (iron titanium oxide) and rutile (titanium dioxide) are used to make white pigments for paints, paper and plastic. Titanium can be extracted from these ores and used to manufacture metallic parts where light weight and high strength are needed. Zircon (zirconium silicate) is used for abrasive and insulating purposes.Demand for these minerals has contracted. According to Couto, Kenmare’s main market is China, and the Chinese demand for titanium ores has fallen by 12.5 per cent.

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