Mantashe meets with industry to prepare for lockdown

Australian mining executive Mark Caruso, right, with Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, second from right, and senior DMR department officials during an inspection of Tormin mineral sands mine on the West Coast last week.
Australian mining executive Mark Caruso, right, with Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe, second from right, and senior DMR department officials during an inspection of Tormin mineral sands mine on the West Coast last week.
Supplied

Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has held meetings with the South African Petroleum Industry Association and the Minerals Council of South Africa to plan industrial responses to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The meeting follows President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement to South Africa on Monday evening that the country would go into a state of lockdown from midnight on Thursday, after an exponential rise in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country.

During his address, Ramaphosa announced that the Industrial Development Corporation and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition had set aside R3 billion to assist vulnerable firms and fast-track financing for companies that are critical to fighting the pandemic.

"Companies whose operations require continuous processes such as furnaces [and] underground mine operations will be required to make arrangements for care and maintenance to avoid damage to their continuous operations," said Ramaphosa on Monday evening.

The statement from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said Mantashe and industry captains were focused on ensuring that continued operations did so safely under government provisions, and that those that stopped would be buffered from the economic impact.

"The department, working with both the petroleum and mining industries, is developing a framework of practical steps to execute the national call for a lockdown. This will be presented to the meeting of the national command council," the department statement said.

The statement added that the primary objective remained protecting the lives of people working in these industries, while ensuring that critical sectors of the economy continued with essential services.

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