The Minerals Council of South Africa has condemned irresponsible and unverified reports that the mining sector has already seen its first case of COVID-19.
Reports of a mineworker at the Sibanye-Stillwater operation testing positive have been strongly refuted by the council who say they will provide detailed updates on their website if and when the sector sees its first case of the virus.
“The Minerals Council South Africa condemns in the strongest possible terms the false report of an alleged confirmed case of COVID-19 at a Sibanye-Stillwater operation yesterday morning, first on social media, which was then picked up by a broadcast channel without verification,” a statement from the council reads.
“Members of the media are asked to be vigilant in detecting and avoiding misrepresentation, the intention of which would be to sow uncertainty and panic.”
The council affirmed their commitment to transparency and accountability to the various stakeholders in the mining industry and the general public of South Africa.
“The Minerals Council recognises that the accessibility of information and transparency is critical in its efforts to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19; to support the rapid detection and isolation of individuals who may have been affected; and to ensure that employees and their families have the understanding and support they need in this challenging time.
“At the same time, it is important that other stakeholders, such as shareholders and the media, are equally well informed.”
The Minerals Council revealed that should a case of COVID-19 be confirmed in a mining operation the Department of Health would be notified immediately. The council also committed to keeping miners informed through their union representatives.
“The industry’s approach to reporting on incidents of COVID-19 will be aligned to the requirements of the Department of Health (DoH) in the first instance, while keeping the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) and organised labour informed at all times,” the statement continues.
“The Minerals Council will provide a daily update on its website www.mineralscouncil.org.za if and when incidents of COVID-19 are confirmed at members’ operations.”
Sibanye has also confirmed that there are currently no cases of miners testing positive for Covid-19 at any of its operations.
The company plans to pursue legal action once the source of the false information has been traced and identified. Sibanya has also informed the relevant regulatory authorities that the reports are baseless.