So. Africa: Mines to comply with lockdown directives & looking into ways to assist thousands of mine workers
Author: Allan Seccombe, Business Day (South Africa) , Published on: 24 March 2020
‘SA mines to close for three weeks in Covid-19 battle’ 23 March 2020
The world's biggest source of platinum group metals, manganese, chrome and major contributor of gold is going into a three-week lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19. “Higher gold, platinum and palladium prices combined with a weaker rand were helping Sibanye-Stillwater and other miners but the effect of the virus will now cut profits due to fixed costs of operating mines,” SP Angel's John Meyer said in London. President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday night that the lockdown would start at midnight on Thursday and last to April 16. Mines and furnaces will have to shut.
…Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council SA, whose members account for 90% of the country’s mineral production, said talks were under way to prevent unintended damage to the industry. “The Minerals Council is also exploring what will be required to prevent the lockdown leading to permanent damage of the industry. There are marginal and loss-making mines that would likely be unable to reopen should they be required to close fully, without remedial measures,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
…Mineral resources and energy minister Gwede Mantashe met industry executives on Tuesday to formulate plans around the shut downs, care and maintenance programmes, how to manage furnaces and refineries, which cannot be switched on and off for short periods, as well as what to do with tens of thousands of mineworkers.