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July 3, 2020updated 10 Nov 2021 4:59am

Coronavirus company news summary – Czech company OKD closes mines – Codelco CEO urges Chile not to impose restrictions – Minerals Council warns of virus stigma

By Matthew Hall

3 July

Czechia-based hard coal mining group OKD has closed all its mining operations for six weeks as the company fights Covid-19 infections. During recent weeks, the mines, located in the country’s east near the Polish border, have been the main hot spot of new cases. As part of OKD’s decision, three deep mines will be closed in addition to the first location where the outbreak started which was shut on 22 May. Reuters reported news agency CTK as saying that after blanket testing was carried out for 3,403 employees at the company’s two CSM mines, a total of 704 positive cases were revealed, all with no or mild symptoms.

Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) has reported that its stand-alone steel production, which includes pig iron, increased 8% quarter-on-quarter during Q1 FY21 in the midst of the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Several steel companies have been forced to cut production due to a fall in sales caused by the pandemic induced lockdowns.

Chilean copper producer Codelco CEO Octavio Araneda has warned that any move to ramp up restrictions on its mines amid the Covid-19 outbreak would be “catastrophic” for the country. Araneda said in an interview that despite increasing criticism from unions and politicians, the company had acted proactively to contain the virus. In April and May, the company had held output and shipments of copper steady despite the growing crisis. However, the pandemic has increased its infection tally leading to calls for further restrictions.

The Minerals Council South Africa and its member companies have collaborated to fight stigmatisation of Covid-19. The council noted that the issue of stigmatisation of the pandemic nationally and globally has significant ramifications for reporting, behaviour and also for people getting treatment. Together, the Minerals Council and its members are making every effort to address stigmatisation by improving trust in health services and company support mechanisms providing practical information in a transparent way.

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