AngloGold Ashanti shuts SA mine after discovering 164 coronavirus circumstances

AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine in South Africa has been briefly closed after 164 staff examined constructive for the coronavirus, the gold miner mentioned in a press release on Sunday.

The mine, the deepest on this planet, solely reopened in April after being shut below a nationwide lockdown, and had been working at round 50% capability. It accounted for round 7.four% of the corporate’s complete gold manufacturing in 2019.

AngloGold Ashanti, which additionally operates mines elsewhere in Africa, South America and Australia, mentioned it had performed 650 exams at Mponeng since detecting the primary case of the virus there final week, and 164 workers had examined constructive with solely a handful of exams left to course of.

“As a precautionary step, and after discussions with the regulator, operations … have been briefly halted on a voluntary foundation, to finish contact tracing and to once more deep clear and sanitise the office and key infrastructure,” the assertion mentioned.

On-site amenities

It added that the overwhelming majority of the circumstances had been asymptomatic and all those that examined constructive can be remoted consistent with nationwide well being protocols, with on-site amenities obtainable for many who want them.

The assertion adopted an announcement by a provincial well being division earlier on Sunday that underground operations on the mine can be closed till additional discover after 53 staff had examined constructive.

Like all South African mines, Mponeng, which employed a mean of 5 051 folks together with contractors in 2019, was permitted to return to working at 50% capability in April when the lockdown, one of many world’s most restrictive, was eased.

However some staff, particularly these employed at deep mines, have raised considerations about returning to work in an setting the place social distancing is tough.

A lot of different mines within the business, which employs round 500 000 folks, have additionally needed to briefly shut after staff examined constructive for the virus, together with mines owned by Impala Platinum and Assore.