Limpopo mine closes after first case of Covid-19

The mine was closed after a worker tested positive for covid-19
The mine was closed after a worker tested positive for covid-19

Dwarsrivier Chrome mine in Limpopo has shutdown all operations after one of the employees tested positive for coronavirus.

SowetanLIVE today reported that a female had tested positive for the virus and that the National Union of Mineworkers [NUM] had called for its immediate closure.

This is the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the mining industry.

The mine’s general manager Matiki Segatane said the employee was isolated during the screening process and had not entered the mine premises.

“Employees who were known to have been in close contact with the affected employee have been removed from site and will remain in self-quarantine until their test results are known,” Segatane said.

“The mine has suspended all production as a precautionary measure on 4th of May and will resume operations once the management has successfully completed an audit.”

NUM in the province said they were worried that the woman could have infected hundreds of people.

NUM’s north east regional secretary Phillip Mankge said they had called for the mine to shut down operations while they are tracking down her contacts which he said could run to hundreds as she and her other colleagues use the same lift club taxi to commute to work.

“Since the suspected case, they have never informed anybody and that person is using a lift club. A combi that is not demarcated, it’s a private transport. As we speak, the combi is at the mine now and is going to ferry people changing shifts,” Mankge said.

“We don’t know how many people that particular combi has been transporting since the 26 [of April] to date. And then you must understand that the combi also might have been transporting the public. It’s a private taxi.”

Mankge said they had been at pains explaining to the department of mineral resources and energy that the mine did not have its own transport and should not have been granted a license to operate.

Segatane said the last time the patient was inside the mine was prior to the national lockdown on March 27.

“The employee has been in self-isolation since 29 April 2020. The relevant government departments have been informed of case and will assist with the management of thereof,” he said.

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