Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) minister Gwede Mantashe met with leaders of the Minerals Council South Africa in Johannesburg to get an update on how the mining industry plans to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This follows the briefing by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, wherein a comprehensive plan was outlined, detailing how the country will respond in the short to medium term.

The department’s health and safety inspectorate, working together with the mining companies and labour unions in the sector, are on high alert, and are testing the sector’s level of preparedness, with a focus on preventative 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 (WHO) announced the outbreak, with a focus on preventative control, and managing any emerging risks.

A ten-point plan has been developed in line with the Department of Health (DoH) and National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) guidelines.

The department continues to engage with the sector on – among others – use of their 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,” Minister Mantashe said. Engagements between government and the sector continue.

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