The Minerals Council South Africa recognises that, in announcing the three-week lock-down, the President and his government have had to take radical and pre-emptive steps to arrest as far as possible the further spread of COVID-19. We recognise the quality leadership government is showing in South Africa’s attempt to ‘flatten’ the rate of infection and the burden on healthcare systems. The industry supports efforts to enforce social distancing, including confining most people to their homes to prevent social and non-essential business activities for the next three weeks.

We recognise that the steps announced last night will potentially have a severe impact on the South African economy as a whole, including the mining industry.

The Minerals Council is engaging with senior government leadership over the detail of the lockdown where the industry is concerned. This will include the nature of essential services and what will be required in terms of care and maintenance for non-operating facilities. The Minerals Council is also exploring what will be required to prevent the lockdown leading to permanent damage of the industry. There are marginal and lossmaking mines that would likely be unable to reopen should they be required to close fully, without remedial measures.

In addition to the measures announced by President Ramaphosa last night, there are other creative solutions being explored, including by organised business as a whole, that could assist the survival and eventual recovery of the industry and the economy. The mining industry intends to be at the forefront of exploring these solutions, as we seek to ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry.