Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Tuesday met with the leadership of the Minerals Council in Johannesburg, to receive an update on the plans that have been put in place for the sector to adequately respond to the current Covid-19 pandemic.
This follows the briefing by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, wherein a comprehensive plan was outlined for responding to the spread of the virus in the short to medium term.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy’s (DMRE’s) Health and Safety Inspectorate, working with mining companies and labour unions in the sector, is on high alert, and is testing the sector’s level of preparedness, with a focus on preventive control and managing any emerging risks for employees and communities in which mines operate.
Work in the industry began over a month ago after the World Health Organisation announced the outbreak, with a focus on preventive control, and managing any emerging risks.
A ten-point plan has been developed in line with the Department of Health and National Institute of Communicable Diseases guidelines.
The DMRE continues to engage with the sector on – among others – the use of its medical facilities for the broader communities around mining operations, as well as the use of any safe and unoccupied housing facilities for quarantine, should the need arise.
Thus far no infections have been reported in the sector.
“Working together we have made great strides on the health and safety front in the sector. We are confident that our continued partnership to proactively manage the humanitarian and economic impact of this pandemic on the sector, will go a long way,” Mantashe said.
Engagements between government and the sector are ongoing.