In its fight against COVID-19, mining companies in South Africa have contributed significantly towards bolstering medical infrastructure to treat mine employees as well as mine-affected community members.
This includes the construction of several hospitals, repurposing of existing resources and investment into securing critical COVID-19 equipment, writes CHANTELLE KOTZE.
This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 9, 2020
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Despite concerns about mines in South African reopening when the country moved from lockdown level 4 to level 3 on 1 June, the mining sector has been historically known for its sound medical quarantining, screening, testing and medical care infrastructure and practices – all of which have been used to treat tuberculosis, HIV and AIDS.
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As a result, the mining sector has been extremely well equipped to manage the COVID-19 crisis. The sector’s countless clinics and medical staff have helped to ease the burden on the government.
The Minerals Council South Africa has been hosting regular COVID-19 updates since June to highlight the efforts undertaken by its member companies in the fight against the virus.
In a COVID-19 update at the end of August, the Minerals Council showcased several of these initiatives, namely the ones undertaken by Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat), Impala Platinum (Implats) and AngloGold Ashanti (AGA).
Royal Bafokeng Platinum
In terms of RBPlat’s contribution, the company converted a disused change house at its Maseve mine south shaft into a 200-bed field hospital in Rustenburg at a cost of R10.2 million.
The change house, which had not been used for more than two years, is established to provide initial COVID-19 medical treatment to its employees and the surrounding communities.The facility can cater from mild to moderate COVID-19 positive cases, supported by medical facilities and healthcare professionals as required, while community members requiring intensive care are referred to the Moses Kotane provincial hospital and RBPlat employees are referred to the Peglerae private hospital.The 200-bed field hospital was handed over to the North West Provincial Department of Health on 1 July, and to date, 60 community members have been admitted, while 250 patients have been treated to date, including RBPlat employees.“At no point have we had the facility operate at full capacity. But we are geared up should that be required,” says RBPlat executive for investor relations Lindiwe Montshiwagae.By partnering with the North West Provincial […]