AngloGold Ashanti announced on Sunday that it has temporarily halted operations Mponeng Mine in the West Rand after 164 workers tested positive for COVID-19.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
The company last week detected the first positive COVID-19 case at its Mponeng Mine.
AngloGold Ashanti has 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,” the mining group said.
“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.”
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 all being engaged in the process, said the company.
Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe is expected to meet with Limpopo Premier, Stan Mathabatha and management of the Marula Platinum Mine in Bela Bela Sunday afternoon.
The meeting comes after 19 mineworkers at the Marula Platinum Mine have now tested positive for COVID-19.
Limpopo Health MEC, Dr Phophi Ramathuba said on Saturday that 13 of those who tested positive are part of 130 employees who were tested when they returned to the mine this week.
She says the number includes health professionals as well as underground workers.