14 May

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in the Philippines has issued guidelines to miners to restart mining and mineral processing operations. Reuters quoted the government as saying that miners are now allowed to operate at full capacity as the country begins to relax containment measures related to Covid-19, with strict safety protocols still in place. In order to restart operations, the companies are required to provide medical equipment and other supplies such as thermal scanners, face masks, along with transportation to and from mine and plant sites.

Great Panther reported that two additional employees and one contractor have tested positive for Covid-19 at its operations bringing the total number of cases across the company to five. All affected employees are stable with mild symptoms. They remain in isolation and are monitored by local health authorities. Meanwhile, the company’s Tucano Gold Mine in Brazil continues to operate at full capacity with strict Covid-19 mitigation protocols in place.

Chile’s Minister of Mining Baldo Prokurica has visited Amerigo Resources‘ operation, Minera Valle Central (MVC), to learn about the actions that are implemented by the mine to protect the health of its workers and subcontractors, while maintaining zero contagion at the operation amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. MVC general manager Christian Cáceres said that the operation has established a Covid-19 Emergency Committee that is reviewing the situation.

Sibanye Stillwater said that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa must allow mines in the country to operate at full capacity as lockdown due to Covid-19 risks killing the mining industry. Last month, companies were allowed to restart operations with half their normal employees amid worries that the shutdowns could damage the viabilities of the country’s mines. Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in an interview that as labour intensive mines cannot operate at these levels continuously, they will have to either restructure or close.

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