AngloGold Ashanti has confirmed that 196 of its staff at the Mponeng Mine in South Africa have tested positive for COVID-19.
This is out of 651 tests conducted.
The company in a statement noted that in the vast majority of these cases, the individuals were asymptomatic, with the balance showing very mild symptoms.
The initiative was undertaken following the detection of a positive COVID-19 case at the mine last week, after which a comprehensive screening, contact tracing and testing programme was embarked upon.
“All positive cases continue to be isolated in line with national health protocols, with on-site isolation facilities available for those who may need them,” the statement said.
Operations at Mponeng Mine continue to be voluntarily suspended to enable contact tracing, further engagement with all relevant stakeholders, and deep cleaning and sanitisation of workplaces and key infrastructure.
The mining company said the Department of Health, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, regional health authorities and labour unions continue to be fully engaged in the process.
The management of the mine and its medical team noted they are working closely with the regional health authorities in “our joint efforts to slow the rate of infection and to protect those who may be most vulnerable.”
Mponeng’s COVID-19 risk management plans and protocols remain in place and include:
o appropriate screening of staff arriving at work;
o social distancing measures;
o a cleaning schedule for designated infrastructure;
o hand-sanitising facilities at the appropriate locations on site, and
o availability of Personal Protective Equipment for employees, including gloves and face masks.
While the Company is well-placed to detect infections and to manage the social and medical responses required, it said it recognises that it needs to continue to play a proactive role in the community in which it is located.
To this end, AngloGold Ashanti continues to support a range of initiatives to provide resources for healthcare providers and communities. These include making two hospitals available to the health departments in the North West and Gauteng provinces for public use; a partnership to provide bulk sanitiser to state hospitals; providing handwashing stations in high traffic areas and major taxi ranks in Gauteng; distributing care parcels to vulnerable members of its host communities; procuring ICU beds; and contributing R20 million to South Africa’s Solidarity Response Fund.