In a press release, De Beers spokesman Tom Tweedy reassures the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in South Africa that not only will the sale of the Kimberley diamond mine to Ekapa Minerals not result in job losses, but is the best strategy for extending the life of the mine past its anticipated closure in 2018. “Kimberley Mines is not being closed, but sold to Ekapa Minerals as a going concern. Being sold as a going concern means that the provisions of Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act will apply. In terms of these provisions, all employee contracts will be transferred to the new owner on terms and conditions which on the whole are no less favourable than they currently enjoy,” Tweedy said. Furthermore, he said that a more flexible, efficient and low-cost operator "should be in a position to operate Kimberley Mines more profitably for longer than De Beers,” perhaps as long as 2030. De Beers has a relatively high cost base compared to smaller mining companies.
Furthermore, in response to NUM’s claim that it had not been consulted on the sale of the mine to Ekapa Minerals - resulting in the union threatenening to march on the company on Thursday next week - Tweedy said De Beers had been open and transparent about the Kimberley Mine's life of mine, which comes to an end in 2018. “During the course of 2014 and 2015 the company’s management team has had numerous engagements with stakeholders, including the Kimberly Mines NUM branch,” he said.