On 16 April 2020, the South African Government announced the following amendments to the Regulations promulgated under the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 to prevent and combat the spread of Covid-19 dated 11 April 2020.
The Minister stressed that all collieries linked to Eskom will continue production at 100% capacity and all others will operate, as directed by the Minister, at 50%. According to amendment 11J, this has been put in place to address the potential risk of seismic activity occurring in underground mines, and thereafter may only be increased as determined by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
The following specific conditions set out in 11K of the amendment will be applied to the starting and increasing of the capacity of mining operations:
- a rigorous screening and testing program must be implemented for all employees returning to work, to aid in the prohibition of the spread of Covid-19;
- the mining industry must provide quarantine facilities for employees who have tested positive for the Covid-19;
- all data collected by the mining operations during the testing and screening programme must promptly be submitted to the relevant authority;
- mining companies must arrange transport for their South African employees, from their homes to their respective areas of operations; and
- all workers from neighbouring Southern African development community countries must be recalled to their place of employment at the end of the lockdown, in accordance with these Regulations and the Regulations applicable in those countries.
Section 11B of the Regulations, has been amended by section 8(a) to promote decongestion of the ports. The Regulations now allow for the transportation of cargo from ports of entry to their intended destination, as well as cargo currently at ports of entry, thereby allowing mining operations to move commodities offshore.
The full amended Regulations can be accessed here.