Mines have been quick to respond to prevent the spread of Covid-19 yet despite their bests efforts infections are still taking place and a number of deaths have been reported since the start of the pandemic.

Nico Pienaar of ASPASA. Image credit: ASPASA

Nico Pienaar of ASPASA. Image credit: ASPASA

Nico Pienaar, director of surface mining industry association ASPASA, says the industry’s early adoption of preventative measures and advanced tracing used on most mines has most likely prevented the spread tenfold and where outbreaks have occurred these measures have been largely successful in containing the spread.

“By its nature, the mining industry is geared towards safety and preparedness, so the addition of certain levels of Covid-19 health and safety measures was far easier to implement than in less safety concerned environments. Yet still the industry has seen infections throughout the curve of the pandemic with a number of deaths occurring.”

According to statistics from the Minerals Council of South Africa Covid-19 dashboard reports from 385 mines employing nearly half-a-million people shows that there are at least 17 155 active cases with 184 deaths and 16 500 recoveries. Impressively, the industry has already screened 352 935 people and tested 52 775 people by October this year.

Of these cases most were reported from the platinum industry followed by gold with coal and smaller mining types reporting lesser numbers. Corresponding with these figures then North West Province was most affected followed by Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

“As infection rates continue to ebb and flow it is important that the mining industry does not let down its guard and continue to implement the latest required PPE and techniques to prevent person-to-person infection and protect all people within the industry.”