The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has published guidelines for a mandatory Code of Practice (COP) for mitigating and managing COVID-19 in the mining industry.
The guidelines are issued in terms of section 49(6) of the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996, after consultation with the Mine Health and Safety Council including a process of public comments to the draft guidelines.
The objective of the guidelines is to assist employers as far as reasonably practicable to establish and maintain a COVID-19 prevention, mitigation and management programme. This is to ensure that mine employees returning to work and any other persons at mines, are protected from transmission of the Coronavirus at the workplace, and where reasonably practicable, in the community. In addition, the guidelines will also provide guidance to all stakeholders regarding their roles and responsibilities in the management of the virus.
All mining operations are required to prepare and implement a COP on the COVID-19 pandemic that complies with any relevant guidelines and instructions issued by government, including:
- Regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002
- Directions issued by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy in terms of regulation 10(8) of the regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act No 57 of 2002
- Guiding principles on the management of Covid-19 in the South African Mining Industry (SAMI)
- Guidelines developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), National Department of Health (NDoH), and the National Department of Employment and Labour (NDEL)
Failure by the employers to prepare and implement the mine’s COP in line with the guidelines constitutes a criminal offence and a bridge of the Mine Health and Safety Act. The gazetted guidelines can be accessed and downloaded on government gazette website. Alternatively the guidelines can be accessed at www.energy.gov.za or www.dmr.gov.za.