DRDGOLD Limited (NYSE:DRD) CEO Niël Pretorius told stakeholders on Wednesday that the gold producer has resumed work at its Ergo and Far West Gold Recoveries (FWGR) operations, even if at reduced levels.
Pretorius said that at Ergo, 34% of staff, working a two-shift cycle with a third on standby, is back at work and reclaiming material from four high-volume sites.
On the other hand, at Far West Gold Recoveries, about 60% of staff, working the same shift cycle, are covering the reclamation, processing and disposal of material from the operation’s single reclamation site.
On March 25, DRDGOLD, based in Johannesburg, implemented measures to temporarily halt production and to place its operations in a state of care and maintenance, as it supported the national lockdown declared by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Although the law, on a technical interpretation, allowed for the continuation of our operations during the lockdown, the Director-General of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), in an exchange of correspondence between myself and his office, confirmed a very important qualification in this regard, namely that it be done in a way that ensured the health and safety of staff,” Pretorius said.
“We took guidance on what such measures entailed from the guidelines published by the DMRE, the Department of Health and the Minerals Council South Africa, and the plan that has since been put in place to sustain essential services at our Ergo and Far West Gold Recoveries (FWGR) operations was designed to keep staff deployment densities to a minimum and in conformity with those recommendations.”
The DRDGOLD boss observed that the infection rate in South Africa has slowed down compared to other countries that were on “a similar infection trajectory” to South Africa at the time the lockdown was implemented.
“The containment of transmissions during the initial stages of the pandemic was nothing short of remarkable. Further containment is now in our own hands, and it would be a tragedy if we allowed the situation to get away from us through indifference, carelessness or ignorance,” said Pretorius.
“Several institutions and businesses are virtually on their knees and at risk of closure. It is essential for their survival that we build on this early success to get a relaxation of the lockdown as soon as possible,” he added.
Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]
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Published at Wed, 15 Apr 2020 19:34:00 +0000-DRDGOLD resumes work at reduced levels at its South African gold mines