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Sepon mine completes restructure to focus on copper production

MMG LXML Sepon, which operates the Sepon mine in Savannakhet Province, has completed a restructure to ensure it will continue to deliver strong returns to the Lao Government and the local community.

The outcome resulted in the reduction of 360 Lao positions and over 60 expatriate technical advisory positions. Over 30% of the expatriate workforce has been reduced. These changes were made to enhance the capacity of the Lao workforce as well as improving efficiency and competitiveness to meet international economic conditions.

Lao employees will receive benefits in accordance with Lao labour law.  LXML is also providing job search and financial training and has consulted other employers to assist workers.

“LXML Sepon is one of the largest employers in Lao PDR and invests considerable resources in training Lao nationals. We are very proud of our achievements in developing the next generation of Lao professionals in cooperation with government,” said Rick Watsford, General Manager Sepon.

“We visited surrounding villages to ensure the reasons for the restructure were well understood. LXML has made every effort to limit the impact on families and the local community, including mitigating loss of income through several enhanced development programs in Vilabouly District. We acknowledge the importance of Sepon to local families, our employees, and the community. We are making these changes now to ensure Sepon can continue to grow in the future,” he said.

Gold production ceased in December 2013 when the plant was placed in care and maintenance. Copper production has expanded, with record production of over 90,000 tonnes in 2013. Production now greatly exceeds Sepon’s original design capacity of 65,000 tonnes per annum.

Following the restructure, LXML Sepon introduced many new and enhanced community development initiatives to assist the local community with employment and improved livelihoods. These include an expanded village development and poverty alleviation fund, agriculture projects, and a ‘Millennium Education’ project designed to encourage school participation.

As an important development partner in the Lao PDR, LXML Sepon has invested millions of dollars in local communities to support health, education, infrastructure, and other programs, including a child nutrition project in cooperation with the Lao Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

LXML Sepon has contributed over US$1 billion in direct revenue in taxes and royalties to the Lao Government since the mine commenced operations in 2003, and is one of the largest and most significant investors and taxpayers in the country. Sepon is also widely acknowledged in Lao PDR as a leader in maintaining standards of environmental excellence.

The Sepon mine is owned by MMG Limited, the Lao Government is a 10% shareholder, and revenue has contributed significantly to progress, economic growth and development in the Lao PDR.

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Water supply to community
Communities close to the Sepon mine enjoys many benefits, including access to clean water provided by the mine.