Today's Labour News

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angloamericanBusinessLive reports that Anglo American subsidiary Kumba Iron Ore is increasingly using technology to improve efficiency and cut costs.  

But at the heart of its operations are people who are putting in enormous effort during the fundamental tasks of loading and hauling rock at the company’s flagship Sishen mine in the Northern Cape.  Loading and hauling make up two-thirds of the cost of the iron ore coming from SA’s largest iron ore miner.  Since the iron ore price collapsed in 2015, Kumba gave that aspect of its operation close attention, says Mapi Mobwano, GM of Sishen.  Despite a drop in the size of the truck fleet to 98 machines from 136 in the first half of 2016, the mine’s daily tonnage has shot up 62% to 613,000 tonnes since then, with a more highly motivated workforce, a better mine design, changed shift systems and improved blasting.  

The drivers of monster trucks push themselves hard, but their shift system demands working hours that would leave most people numb and bored.  In a 12-hour shift, there is a 20-minute lunch break followed by a 30-minute discretionary break towards the end of the shift, but some drivers opt not to take either, pushing on with their eye on a quarterly bonus that can triple their small salary for the period.  Truck drivers earn a basic wage of R12,000-R15,000 a month.  One driver commented:  "This job is not for everyone.  Fatigue is the big thing.”

  • Read this report by Allan Seccombe in full at BusinessLive

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