The Minerals Council South Africa’s (MCSA) CEO Zero Harm Forum has re-allocated research funding to focus on three COVID-19 related areas in the mining industry.This was done after the Council recognised that fundamental research is critical to support the mining industry and others in dealing with the impact of COVID-19. “As healthcare professionals in this industry, we are continually learning about this disease and its impact,” said Dr Thuthula Balfour, head of health at the Minerals Council notes. She added that there was a particular focus to understand what makes people vulnerable and what we can do to prevent people from dying. “This is one of the most important reasons why the research we are undertaking is so important.” “While the mortality rate in the mining industry is lower in the mining industry comparted to the rest of the country, we recognise that we are only seeing the initial impact of the pandemic in some regions and that it is likely that mining operations will be affected similarly to the regions in which we operate,” added. The three research projects currently underway relate to understanding the nature of COVID-19, changing behaviours to stop the spread of the virus and a geographic information mapping system to enhance decision-making.
ResearchThe Minerals Council is collaborating with the Aurum Institute to conduct an analysis of the cases and deaths suffered until 20 June. This analysis will improve and accelerate learnings in support of the Minerals Council’s COVID-19 response and surveillance. The project comprises two phases aimed at reviewing and analysing the data currently collected by Minerals Council members, and reviewing the case files of up to 2 000 individuals who have tested positive across the mining industry to characterise the cases and determine similarities between different cases and possible areas of transmission and high risk.
The Minerals Council has also commissioned UNISA to conduct a study the effectiveness of all the control measures currently in place across the mining industry and whether these are achieving the intended objectives and what improvements are required.