First Quantum Minerals Ltd. said 520 workers are affected after Canada’s biggest copper producer terminated a contract with Chantete Mining Services at its largest mine in Zambia.
“This termination is the result of significant overcapacity of the current mining fleet, in relation to mining volumes which have reduced, in line with Kansanshi’s mine plan,” Kansanshi Mining Plc, a unit of Vancouver-based First Quantum, said today in an e-mailed statement.
Chantete was engaged to address “short-term mine development needs,” the company said, adding that it will try to rehire those workers at other First Quantum operations.
First Quantum is the biggest copper producer in Zambia, where it is investing more than $2 billion. A new smelter, the Sentinel copper mine and a nickel project will create about 2,400 jobs, the company said. The Zambian government last year forbade Vedanta Resources Plc from firing employees and revoked the work permit of its local chief executive officer after the company announced plans to cut more than 1,500 jobs.
Zambia is Africa’s biggest copper producer after the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kansanshi has a workforce of about 1,937 people and will produce from 255,000 metric tons to 270,000 tons of copper this year, according to a presentation on First Quantum’s website.