JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The mechanised Uitkomst underground colliery has restarted, with ramp up to 50% capacity expected in seven to ten days, London-, Sydney- and Johannesburg-listed MC Mining said on Tuesday.
The lockdown’s impact on activities at the corporate office had led to the implementation of business continuity measures as well as stringent health and safety procedures, which had resulted in MC Mining having to implement a ‘no work, no pay’ policy for nonessential staff, the company stated in a media release to Mining Weekly.
A portion of wages paid by the government’s temporary employee/employer relief scheme had reduced the national lockdown’s adverse financial impacts on staff.
The work-from-home strategy adopted by the company would result in staff continuing to work remotely where possible.
MC Mining’s 70%-owned Uitkomst, a high-grade metallurgical and thermal coal producer located in KwaZulu-Natal near Newcastle, is only expected to return to full operating capacity following further reductions in the national coronavirus alert assessments and once currently challenging coal offtakes had normalised.
Uitkomst’s ramp-up under level 4 is subject to detailed Covid-19 health and safety protocols, which require employee screening, testing and quarantining of virus-positive personnel.
The lockdown’s effects on critical suppliers is being assessed and constant communication is ensuring that customer requirements are being met.
Makhado hard coking coal project, Vele semi-soft coking coal mine and the Greater Soutpansberg coking and thermal coal projects, all in Limpopo, would resume only when it was safe to do so and in accordance with government regulations.
A cash balance of $1.1-million is on hand and $6.5-million as the second tranche of the loan from the Industrial Development Corporation is available for drawdown. Underway are discussions on potential new finance facilities and a drawdown from existing ones.
Completion of the process of securing funding to start the first phase of the Makhado project is expected in the second quarter or the third quarter of this calendar year.
“We remain very mindful of the economic toll that the pandemic has on our employees and their families,”said MC Mining CEO Brenda Berlin.