Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe
Picture: GCIS
Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe Picture: GCIS

Mining sector to ramp up inspections after 384 miners test positive for Covid-19

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published May 29, 2020

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The mining sector has recorded 384 coronavirus cases, Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe confirmed as more mining operations are expected to resume from June 1.

Mantashe said his department was ramping up inspections at various mining operations to check whether mining companies were complying with measures set out by the department.

A total of 4600 miners have been tested for the virus and 384 have confirmed positive. Over the last week, various mines around the country have confirmed positive cases with concerns rising.

Mantashe said during inspections, it was found that some mining companies were not complying with requirements to screen and test workers. He said another issue faced by the sector, was workers testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms.

He has directed that mining companies should work together in focusing on testing and screening workers, which will help decrease costs.

The minister said they would not hesitate to close down mining operations should cases rise.

"We are not shocked at the results of testing. The are many triggers of shutting down a mine, Mantashe said.

He said decisions on mine closures would be weighed depending on the number of cases reported and on compliance.

Mantashe explained that some parts of the mining industry were operational at various levels during level 5 and 4. 

These included coal mines that provided coal to Eskom. He said the fuel sector would have an issue with diesel supply and that it would be rationed until the end of the May as four centres had been closed and were expected to come back online

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