Thirteen mineworkers from the Marula Platinum Mine, outside Burgersfort, in Limpopo, have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the COVID-19 cases at mines in the province to more than 20.
Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba says the 13 are part of 130 employees who were tested when they returned to the mine this week. She says the number includes health professionals as well as underground workers.
Limpopo currently has 76 COVID-19 cases.
Ramathuba says they expect more positive cases from the Marula Platinum Mine as the test results of other mine workers haven’t been received yet.
“Thirteen mineworkers at Marula Platinum Mine have tested positive for COVID-19. This is by far the single biggest number of positive within 24 hours that we have received from one establishment. We must still expect more because we have not received the full results of the 130,” says Ramathuba.
Limpopo provincial government has in the recent past flagged the mining sector as a worrying COVID-19 hotspot. MEC for Health in Limpopo, Dr Phophi Ramathuba speaks to SABC News:
Below is a graphic of South African statistics on COVID-19:
In the video below, Limpopo Health Department briefs the media on the matter:
SA mines work together
In April, South African mining companies said they were setting up shared quarantine facilities for miners testing positive for COVID-19. They were also discussing other ways to cooperate, as the vital national industry gradually restarts operations halted since late March.
Sibanye Stillwater, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Gold Fields turned to social media, radio stations and newspapers to offer guidance to employees on how to prevent the coronavirus spread.
Sibanye said it was converting some of its worker hostels in the West Rand, the Free State and Rustenburg into quarantine facilities and would make them available to employees of other companies who had been diagnosed with the virus.
“We are partnering with AngloGold and Harmony to share hostel facilities,” Sibanye’s senior vice president of investor relations, James Wellsted, told an online media briefing.
The briefing was organised by the Minerals Council of South Africa, a group representing the country’s top mining firms.
AngloGold Ashanti’s group health vice president, Bafedile Chauke, said mining firms were discussing other ways to work with each other to ensure the health and safety of employees returning to work.
AngloGold is already partnering with petrochemicals major Sasol to increase the production of sanitisers and has offered to share the cost of manufacturing bulk storage tanks for sanitiser.
Below is an infographic on COVID-19 lockdown level 4: