Min­er­als Coun­cil ex­plor­ing ways to pre­vent per­ma­nent dam­age from lock­down |

Pretoria News - - BUSINESS REPORT - DINEO FAKU [email protected]

THE MIN­ER­ALS Coun­cil is ex­plor­ing mea­sures to pre­vent the South African lock­down lead­ing to per­ma­nent dam­age to the min­ing in­dus­try.

Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa an­nounced a 21-day na­tional lock­down from mid­night to­mor­row to pre­vent fur­ther trans­mis­sion of Covid19 as con­firmed cases spiked to 554 yes­ter­day.

The coun­cil said yes­ter­day that it was en­gag­ing with se­nior gov­ern­ment lead­er­ship over the de­tails of the lock­down, in­clud­ing the na­ture of es­sen­tial ser­vices and what would be re­quired for plac­ing mines on care and main­te­nance for non-op­er­at­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

“There are mar­ginal and loss-mak­ing mines that would likely be un­able to re­open should they be re­quired to close fully, with­out re­me­dial mea­sures,” the coun­cil said.

Ramaphosa said all of South Africa’s min­ing op­er­a­tions were re­quired to be placed on care and main­te­nance as he an­nounced a broad range of mea­sures to be taken to mit­i­gate the im­pact of the lock­down on South Africa’s econ­omy.

Har­mony Gold Min­ing Com­pany said Covid-19 would im­pact its bot­tom line and its board, ex­ec­u­tive and man­age­ment were at work on de­tailed ar­range­ments to man­age the ef­fects of the lock­down on the busi­ness and would dis­close the de­tails by to­mor­row.

Har­mony chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Steenkamp cau­tioned share­hold­ers that the Covid-19 di­rec­tive would have a neg­a­tive im­pact on the com­pany’s an­nual pro­duc­tion guid­ance of 1.4 mil­lion ounces and on the com­pany’s 2020 earn­ings.

“This is an un­prece­dented time in the his­tory of the min­ing in­dus­try and our coun­try.

“The health and safety of all South Africans must take prece­dence and as such we are com­mit­ted to mak­ing de­ci­sions that will en­sure the con­tin­ued vi­a­bil­ity of our com­pany,” said Steenkamp.

Di­ver­si­fied global min­ing com­pany An­glo Amer­i­can said it would pri­ori­tise the health and safety of its em­ploy­ees, and com­mu­ni­ties.

“We are, there­fore, also work­ing to­gether with the gov­ern­ment of South Africa to en­sure the con­ti­nu­ity of our busi­ness where ap­pro­pri­ate in or­der to min­imise any un­in­tended con­se­quences of the an­nounced lock­down,” said the group.

An­gl­o­Gold Ashanti said it would tem­po­rar­ily sus­pend pro­duc­tion from its South African op­er­a­tions by plac­ing mines on care and main­te­nance for the three-week du­ra­tion of the lock­down.

“Plans will be de­vel­oped to help safely re­gain pro­duc­tion de­layed by this shut­down, where pos­si­ble,” said the com­pany.

An­gl­o­Gold sold its re­main­ing South African as­sets, in­clud­ing the Mpo­neng mine, to Har­mony Gold and the trans­ac­tion was ex­pected to close in June.

The Min­is­ter of Min­eral Re­sources and En­ergy Gwede Man­tashe said the depart­ment, work­ing with both the petroleum and min­ing in­dus­tries, was de­vel­op­ing a frame­work of prac­ti­cal steps to ex­e­cute the na­tional call for a lock­down.

“The pri­mary ob­jec­tive re­mains that of pro­tect­ing the lives of peo­ple work­ing in th­ese in­dus­tries – while en­sur­ing that crit­i­cal sec­tors of the econ­omy are able to con­tinue with es­sen­tial ser­vice – and to put in place plans to en­sure that be­yond the lock­down, they are able to quickly restart pro­duc­tion to sup­port the econ­omy,” said the depart­ment.

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