Northam mine reports first Coronavirus infection

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An employee at Zondereinde Mine in Limpopo has tested positive for Covid-19 after returning to work following the easing of lockdown regulations, the company has revealed.

The employee had on Sunday travelled from Polokwane with four other colleagues who are currently in isolation at the mine's health facility.

The company said "the first positive Covid-19 has been detected through the mines's rigorous screening process".

Mines across the country have begun ramping-up production with up to 50% workforce, as part of government regulations for a phased return to economic activity.

Covid-19 safety at the mines has recently been a subject of a Labour Court matter, which saw the department of Mineral Resources and Energy ordered to publish a code of practice setting minimum standards for health and safety in mines during the coronavirus pandemic.

The case was brought by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) which argued for binding standards for the industry.  The union had highlighted the crowded underground conditions and the transportation of workers to workstations as one of the key areas that put workers at risk of contracting the virus.

Government had earlier instructed mining companies to implement Covid-19 screening for employees as part of health and safety measures to prevent the possible spread of the virus in the workplace. 

Northam, which produces platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold said the infected employee is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Rustenburg.

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