Coronavirus To Cut Mining Output In South Africa By 8%-10% This Year

  • Mining production in South Africa will reportedly fall by 8% – 10% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Opencast mines have been allowed to work at full capacity again since May 1, while deep-level mines – where social distancing is more difficult – were restricted to 50%.
  • South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of platinum and chrome and a leading producer of gold and diamonds.

Mining production in South Africa will reportedly fall by 8% – 10% this year due to the impact of the on-going coronavirus pandemic, according to the Minerals Council of South Africa.

South Africa, the world’s biggest producer of platinum and chrome and a leading producer of gold and diamonds, was forced to shut down its mines temporarily when a nationwide lockdown to contain the virus began in late March.

Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter during a virtual panel discussion between mining chiefs about the industry said, “The impact is very big; it’s probably going to end up being something like an 8 to 10% hit on mining production for this year.”

Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter

He also added that opencast mines have been allowed to work at full capacity again since May 1, while deep-level mines – where social distancing is more difficult – were restricted to 50%.

Harmony Gold CEO Peter Steenkamp, who was also present at the virtual panel discussion, explained that it would take a month for its mines to fully ramp up from June 1 when the country will allow all mines to operate again at full capacity.

Harmony Gold CEO Peter Steenkamp

According to him, he said he expects Harmony’s acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine to be completed by the end of July, a month later than previously scheduled.

Steenkamp said some of Harmony’s mines are designed for a larger capacity than they are working at currently, making it easier to implement Covid-19 protection measures.

“The size of the cages allows us to have more distancing,” he said, adding however that there are some areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.

“There are mines that have high levels of infections but we have been quite lucky so far,” he added. Harmony Gold has so far said two employees of a contractor at its Kalgold mine tested positive for Covid-19.

Some 196 workers at Mponeng have tested positive for Covid-19, and the mine shut on Sunday as a result.

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