Angry parents protested outside the school today against the decision taken by the Governor. (Colombo Gazette) The principal had complained that school resources were being used to operate the private Sunday school by a businessman.Western Province Governor Azath Salley had however spoken to the principal and ordered that the private Sunday school be reopened. Parents protested outside Anula Vidyalaya in Nugegoda disrupting traffic along High Level road today.The protest was over the reopening of a private Sunday school in the school premises. The private Sunday school had been closed earlier but was forcefully reopened by Western Province Governor Azath Salley today. The private Sunday school was closed by the Education Ministry on a complaint made by the school principal.
Despite sluggish global commodity prices that continue to cause an ongoing slump in the mining industry – skills transfer and job creation have been empowering local employees at the Mopani copper mine in Zambia, thanks to a joint venture between Redpath Mining SA and Rig Resources Zambia.Since officially entering into the three-year joint venture (JV) in March 2015, employment at Rig Resources has almost doubled from 217 employees to 433. Rig Resources Managing Director Anthony Kabaghe points out that this is an impressive feat in current market conditions. “The formation of this JV is clearly the beginning of more positive things to come,” he explains. Although still employed by Rig Resources, the employees now form part of the JV partnership, which is currently comprised of 421 locals and 12 expats, who are all working for Mopani on its various shafts. “The advantages that this JV can offer Mopani go far beyond mining solutions, and will positively impact both the Zambian economy and local communities,” says Kabaghe.Redpath Mining SA MD Ockert Douglas indicates that both companies were working as independent contractors for Mopani, but it was clear that the client and the companies could benefit by combining their years of experience and resources. “Redpath Mining SA has been involved with Mopani since 2012, and is currently executing some of the mine’s capital projects.” Douglas adds that mining operations across Africa, such as Mopani, are looking to increase the use of local labour and skills. “This benefits the communities in which we operate and, in turn, the country. The opportunity arose for both companies to create a suitable business venture with many of the elements that the mining operation and Zambian government were looking for.”According to Kabaghe, the JV currently covers the Mopani project at four sites – Mindola North, Mufulira, South Ore Body and Central. “Rig Resources provides local labour and Redpath SA brings in experts to train local staff. Another major benefit that Redpath SA brings to the JV is its impeccable safety record, which currently stands at 448 days incident-free at Central shaft.”International contracting skills and expertise will be transferred during the course of the three-year contract, as Redpath SA provides Rig Resources’ local employees with hands-on training. The finance function will continue to be provided by the local team with support from South Africa, while all future capital required to meet increased production capacity will be borne by Redpath.Apart from the initial $5.4 million invested by Rig Resources, Douglas states that all future capital will be funded by Redpath’s international head office in Canada. “Our technical expertise in terms of contracting, maximising the use of mechanised trackless equipment, and the provision of a resource base of international professionals are also part of the deal,” he continues. Douglas adds that Rig Resources brings local skills and knowledge of the Mopani Mine as well as business relationships in Zambia to the table, thereby creating a full-circle joint venture that has benefits beyond just the two companies. He continues: “We believe that we need to build the current JV to a respectable level, where we fully meet all the needs of the current client. Once this is bedded down, the opportunity may arise for us to undertake additional work together.”Douglas acknowledges that the downward commodity pricing cycle has negatively affected the global mining sector, including Zambia, which is currently not earning the desired foreign exchange that it used to. “These pricing cycles come and go, and I am confident that prices should move upward in the not-too-distant future. Zambia is a country with many years of upcoming mining projects. These mining projects have assisted in growing the country and will continue to do so.” Kabaghe is upbeat about the future outlook for the JV. “Expansion continues to take place at Mopani, which is drilling more shafts in order to be sufficiently prepared for an uptake in production when commodity prices recover.”