WINDHOEK, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Namibia's biggest diamond miner, Namdeb, announced Wednesday the start of an early retirement or voluntary separation exercise targeting at least 130 workers, in an effort to ensure sustainability at its land-based operations.
Namdeb, a 50/50 joint venture company between the Namibian Government and Anglo American's diamond unit De Beers, announced the start of a business optimization process, which will see at least 130 of its 1,700 workforce go on early retirement or apply for voluntary separation.
"The business optimization process includes options for all employees to apply for early retirement and voluntary separation," company spokesperson Pauline Thomas told Xinhua.
She said the process provides an opportunity to ensure that Namdeb retains specialized and experienced skills whilst adhering to its Affirmative Action and Gender Diversity and Inclusion aspirations.
Thomas said ongoing engagement sessions with shareholders, employees, including the local Mineworkers Union, have resulted in a collective understanding on how the company needs to do the right things today to ensure a better tomorrow.
She did not say when the retrenchments would start or how many workers would be affected, but Mineworkers Union of Namibia Oranjemund branch chairperson Shavuka Mbidhi said that at least 130 workers would be targeted.
Last year, Mbidhi said the diamond miner had told its members that it would gradually cease operations, starting with Elizabeth Bay Mine end of this year, Daberas at the end of 2019, Sendelingsdrift in 2020 and the main one, Southern Coastal, in 2022.
Diamonds generate about 20 percent of the Southern African nation's foreign export earnings.