Canadian Mining Journal

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COVID-19: South African mines to suspend operations for 21 days



Harmony Gold operations in South Africa Credit: Harmony

Harmony Gold operations in South Africa Credit: Harmony

On Monday evening, South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as of midnight on Mar. 26 to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

As a result, companies operating mines in the country, such as Anglo American, Harmony Gold, Sibanye-Stillwater, Impala Platinum and Gold Fields are likely to be impacted by these measures.

In response to the announcement, Anglo Gold Ashanti has announced that it will develop plans to safely regain delayed production, where possible.

According to data from South Africa’s department of statistics, in 2019, coal was the country’s most important mineral, accounting for 25.4% of mineral sales, followed by platinum group metals at 24.7% and gold at 13.7%.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that, in 2015, South Africa produced 74% of the world’s mined platinum, 38% of mined palladium, and 9% of refined gold.