AngloGold Ashanti confirms that, following the detection of its first positive COVID-19 case at its Mponeng Mine last week, a comprehensive screening, contact tracing and testing programme has revealed several cases at the site in Merafong, in Gauteng Province.
AngloGold Ashanti conducted 650 tests since last Thursday, including primary contacts and many who wished to be tested on a voluntary basis. This process has indicated 164 positive cases with only a handful of tests left to process. Importantly, of the positive cases, the vast majority are asymptomatic. All positive cases will be isolated in line with national health protocols, with on-site facilities available for those who may need them.
Mponeng uses electronic tracking of all people underground as a safety tool in the event missing miners have to be located. This system has been useful in quickly locating primary, or close contacts.
The Department of Health and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), regional health authorities and labour unions are being engaged in the process.
As a precautionary step, and after discussions with the regulator, operations at Mponeng Mine – which were running at 50% capacity – have been temporarily halted on a voluntary basis, to complete contact tracing and to again deep clean and sanitize the workplace and key infrastructure.
Mponeng has the required Covid-19 risk management plans in place with protocols to ensure:
* appropriate screening of staff arriving at work;
* social distancing measures;
* a cleaning schedule for designated infrastructure;
* hand-sanitising facilities at the appropriate locations on site, and
* availability of Personal Protective Equipment for employees, including gloves and face masks.
Anyone displaying flu-like symptoms during the screening process is referred to the medical practitioner for an assessment and testing where clinically indicated.
AngloGold Ashanti is committed to working with the South African government and other stakeholders to combat the spread of the virus and to deal with its after-effects. The Company has supported a range of initiatives to provide resources for healthcare providers and communities. As part of this work, the Company has made two hospitals available to the health departments in the North West and Gauteng provinces for public use, created a partnership to provide bulk sanitizer to state hospitals, provided handwashing stations in high traffic areas and major taxi ranks in Gauteng, distributed care parcels to vulnerable members of its host communities, procured ICU beds, and contributed R20 million to South Africa’s Solidarity Response Fund.