53 employees at AngloGold Ashanti Mines test positive to Coronavirus
- Mponeng accounted for around 7.4% of the company's total gold production in 2019.
- Miners were permitted to return to 50% production capacity when the country's lockdown, still one of the world's most restrictive, was eased in April.
- The underground production will remain closed until further notice
- Mining company AngloGold Ashanti (AGG) has reported a surprisingly positive first quarter for 2020, despite COVID-19’s impacts
Fifty-three workers at AngloGold Ashanti's Mponeng mine in South Africa have succumbed to the Coronavirus forcing Underground production at the mines to remain closed indefinitely.
The department of health in Gauteng, the province where the mine is located, gave credence to the news on Twitter that 53 employees at the mine had so far tested positive for the virus, and that a further 104 tests were still being processed.
The deepest mine in the world, had been shut during the nationwide lockdown and started operations on April 22nd utilizing 50% of its work capacity.
"The management of the mine has indicated that the underground production will remain closed until further notice," the statement said.
The company did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment outside of business hours.
Workers have been perturbed about the working environment and questions on how to impose social distancing in such a difficult environment had hit the walls.
Several other mines in the industry, which employs around 500,000 people, have also had to temporarily close after workers tested positive for the virus, including mines owned by Impala Platinum and Assore.
The latest incident has followed a spirall cases of staff Negligence which has shaded the sterling fiancial report of the company amid the pandemic.
The government has come under heavy criticism for putting lives of miners at risk and earlier in May a labor union won a court case forcing the government to impose strict guidelines on miners to protect workers.
AngloGold’s CEO, Kelvin Dushnisky, described the mining company’s current rosy outlook.
The company tripled its first-quarter cash flow, increased liquidity to over $2 billion, and progressed on its core objectives, particularly the redevelopment of its Obuasi Gold Mine
However, the company’s otherwise stellar first quarter has been tarnished by the death of five employees. Four of those deaths occurred at AngloGold’s Mponeng Gold Mine in South Africa.
The company has restated that its priority is the pursuit of zero harm to its employees.