The “ArcelorMittal Prijedor” mine produced 24 million tons of iron ore concentrates in 15 years of existence, eliminated 130 million tons of tailings, while more than 120 million KM was invested in improving the production process, and paid 285 million KM for workers’ wages and more than 1.1 billion KM to suppliers.
The director of the mine, Mladen Jelača, said that around one and a half million tonnes of iron ore concentrates were produced and sold last year and six million KM of investments were made in improving the operational segment of the work, and that the plan for the next year is 1.55 million tonnes of ore.
“I am proud of the significant and continuous contribution we have made to the economic and social stability and development of the city of Prijedor and Republika Srpska. We have overcome many challenges and many more are ahead of us. Through all of this, we have maintained high quality in every segment of our business,” he said.
He noted that 2019 was a very difficult year for the steel industry around the world, due to the slow growth of the largest economies in Europe, primarily in Germany, world trade relations, as well as Europe with the US and China, and announced Brexit.
“This has led to reduced demand for steel, including lower demand in the automotive, construction and home appliances sectors. High EU carbon dioxide emissions and high competitiveness of Chinese and Eastern European manufacturers have led to huge losses in integrated steel production, including the “Zenica Ironworks”, which is our only customer, ” Jelača said.
He pointed out that despite these problems, the Prijedor mine was able to achieve a positive result and settle all obligations to workers, the state, creditors and business partners, but also to invest in improvements in the production process.
“We are continuing our cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Srpska towards the best solutions for the future of mining in Prijedor. Geological exploration of areas with hundreds of millions of tonnes of iron ore should continue. This, with explored reserves in Ljubija and Tomašica of about 30-40 million tonnes, could be the backbone of radar development in the coming decades, ” Jelača added.
In terms of social responsibility, over 15 years of work, “ArcelorMittal Prijedor” has invested more than four million KM in more than 420 projects in the local community in various fields.
The president of the Union organization “ArcelorMittal Prijedor” Saša Kukolj stated that among 800 employees there were 740 workers with a permanent contract, among them there were 520 members of this union.
“The average salary in 2019 was KM 1,100 and we do not have workers with the lowest wage in the Republic of Srpska. The price of labor, coefficient and incentives are defined, and workers receive pay of KM 2,000. The employer fulfills all obligations to workers in accordance with the laws and collective contracts, ” Kukolj said.
He pointed out that the media sometimes gives the impression that workers are dissatisfied with their position in this company, but that this is not the case and that the permanent role of the union is to fight for better position of workers, better salaries and better working conditions.
“Mining is a difficult business. Inflation in the race with wage growth is always winning. The cost of living is rising faster and more than workers’ wages. It is the duty of the union to fight for and election for workers,” Kukolj said.
He recalled that after the 2016 Labor Law, this union was able to negotiate an individual collective agreement with the employer, which retained greater workers’ rights than provided for in the new law and by-laws.
“With us, past work is not 0.3 but 0.5 percent. Night work is not 0.35 but 0.50 percent. The cost of labor is not 125 KM as in the metal industry but 174 KM,” Kukolj said.
He added that the three-year individual collective agreement expires this year and that the union fight for a new one is ahead.
“We will prepare and contact the employer in time to negotiate this important document. We want higher salaries and higher wages and the union’s mandate is to fight for it. We will insist on this with the aim of improving the standard of living of workers because it is not enough to keep at the current level, “Kukolj pointed out.
“ArcelorMittal” is a leading steel and mining company in the world with over 200,000 employees in 60 countries.
The most common inaccuracy in the media regarding this company, but also among public office holders and politicians outside Prijedor, is that it is overlooked that this is one company and that the Iron Ore Mines / RZR / Ljubija is another.
“ArcelorMittal Prijedor” was founded by joint venture Mital’s predecessor LNM and RZR “Ljubija”, and the company operates the Omarska mine and the Drenovača quarry, while RZR “Ljubija” is state-owned and operates the mines of Ljubi and Omarska that are not being exploited.
“ArcelorMittal” submitted an offer for the purchase of a state stake in RZR “Ljubija” in 2011.