As South Africa continues feeling the pinch under level four lockdown regulations, a number of African Mining’s usual contributors share their views on the impact of Covid-19 on the mining industry.
The South African mining industry is better-geared towards dealing with Covid-19 and its economic fallout than any other industry in the world. In the past, both the gold and platinum sectors have endured months on end of violent strikes, damage to property, warfare between unions and the murder of some of its best workers by rival union members or trigger-happy police or security forces.
Shutdowns are nothing new to the South African mining industry. Neither are commodity downturns and economic strife; or containing infectious diseases. South African mines have been grappling with the spread of Tuberculosis and HIV for many years. The larger mining companies have their own medical facilities and employ their own doctors and medical staff. Testing and screening of workers are part of their daily routine, and all employees, no matter what function they perform, are given a full medical test when they return after a period of absence.
Although the severity of the impact of Covid-19 on both the health and economy of the country cannot be underestimated, the South African government and its mining industry (a key pillar of the South African economy) are more than capable of handling this new challenge with extreme competence, as they have in the past, and as they will do in the future. During the five-week lockdown (and at the time of writing), a number of regular contributors to African Mining, and a few thought leaders in the mining industry, shared their views about Covid-19 and its impact on the South African economy and especially the mining industry.