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By Eric Naki

Political Editor


Mining sector unveils plan to help fight Covid-19

AngloGold Ashanti’s vice-president for health, Dr Bafedile Chauke, said they had handed over two of its hospitals that were no longer in use to the government.


The mining sector yesterday unveiled how it has contributed to the fight against the Covid-19 to benefit the employees and the communities around their mines. Representatives of the mining companies vowed to continue the battle against the pandemic.

With the platinum sector hardest hit by Covid-19 with the highest number of cases in North West, Impala Platinum’s group executive for health, safety and environment, Dr Jon Andrews, vowed that they would not lower the guard.

“We cannot isolate ourselves from the pandemic, it is evolving. But we can provide solutions that will be effective,” Andrews said.

He said of the 1,700 positive cases they had, more 1,000 patients had recovered with at least 400 still active.

“We cannot drop our guard here, we have not been put under any tremendous pressure because we have sufficient facilities,” Andrews said.

AngloGold Ashanti’s vice-president for health, Dr Bafedile Chauke, said they had handed over two of its hospitals that were no longer in use to the government. Those were the Western Deep Levels Hospital, which was offered to the Gauteng government, and the West Vaal Hospital in Orkney that was handed over to the North West government.

According Lindiwe Montshiwagae, who is executive: investor relations at Royal Bafokeng Platinum, the miner converted the unused Moseve Mine shaft into a field hospital operating on a 12- hour basis for Covid-19 patients. The 200-bed hospital had a doctor, a matron and four professional nurses paid by the government and they treated mine employees and the local community.

So far, 250 patients had been treated, of which 60 were community members. Andrews said as oxygen was crucial for sufferers, Implats had installed a 4.5-ton oxygen tank to service 56 beds in the Covid-focused hospital at the cost of R1.6 million Tebello Chabana, senior executive: public affairs and transformation at Minerals Council South Africa, said they spent R4.7 million on oxygen and oxygen related products in the Eastern Cape, where the majority mineworkers came from.

The contributors were African Rainbow Minerals, Anglo American and its subsidiaries, AngloGold Ashanti, Exxaro, Fraser Alexander, Glencore Alloys, Gold Fields, Harmony, Impala Platinum, Northam Platinum, Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Seriti and Sibanye-Stillwater. Chabana said the Eastern Cape stood out as a mining-affected province, without mines.

“The industry has drawn thousands of employees from the Eastern Cape. Currently, about 61,000 mining employees (about 15% of members’ current workforce) come from the Eastern Cape. ”

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