While Namibia’s second uranium miner is on a quest to cut costs, this is by no means an indication that it will or will not trim its labour force according to Langer Heinrich Managing Director Simon Solomoms who responded to queries by the Economist.
He said very strongly “there are no current plans to reduce employment numbers. It is not possible to predict what may happen in the future. That will depend on economic circumstances prevailing at the time. This observation should not be interpreted as suggesting that there might be a reduction in workforce numbers at some stage in the future, nor as a undertaking that there will not [be].”
Over a three-year period, Paladin Energy Ltd, the Australian owner of the Langer Heinrich mine, implemented cost saving initiatives which have reduced its corporate costs by 35% while total unit costs dropped 21% since the financial year 2012. A new Bicarbonate Recovery Plant is expected to decrease cash costs by a further 10% by the financial year 2016, the Aussie miner said in a SENS announcement.
Paladin was also planning further measures to bring overall cash-flow to a break-even level that would be sustainable even if the current low uranium price environment continues. It said in anticipation of a price rise “ Paladin still firmly believes the uranium market is near an inflection point, after which materially higher prices are expected. The cost reduction initiatives outlined, in conjunction with the pending measures, are intended to make Paladin’s cash flow positive during financial year 2016, enhancing shareholder leverage to any future uranium price upturn.”
Said the Aussie miner, “this US$33 million cash cost saving is a key step for Paladin to achieve sustainability in the current low uranium price environment. Paladin expects, as a minimum, to be cash flow neutral by the end of calendar year 2015. The further cost reductions undergoing review in the next three months will be implemented once verified and are aimed at lowering total all-in cash costs to achieve the cash flow neutral position. Alongside the cost reductions, a revised Life of Mine plan for Langer Heinrich is well advanced and Paladin expects its completion to result in further operational improvements.”
“The costs and efficiency gains announced are part of a focussed effort to put Paladin in a sustainable position and preserve shareholder value. Continued cost reduction combined with the positive outlook for uranium and the globally competitive position of our flagship Langer Heinrich project, means Paladin will have greater leverage to an improving uranium market with its established projects,” it said.