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Small window opens for comment on SA COVID-19 mining code

A small window has opened for public comment on guidelines for a mandatory COVID-19 code of practice for South Africa’s mining sector.
Small window opens for comment on SA COVID-19 mining code Small window opens for comment on SA COVID-19 mining code Small window opens for comment on SA COVID-19 mining code Small window opens for comment on SA COVID-19 mining code Small window opens for comment on SA COVID-19 mining code

Comment period open on COVID-19 code of practice for South Africa’s mining industry

Staff reporter

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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy announced on Tuesday it was seeking public comment, on the guidelines for compiling the code of practice for the mitigation and management of COVID-19 in mining.

The public comment period closes tomorrow, May 14.

The proposals include daily screening of employees, disinfection protocols, providing flu vaccinations and appropriate PPE for areas of mass transit and close contact.

"This is in compliance with the outcome of a recent labour court process, and is part of efforts by the department - as regulator of the mining sector - to ensure the spread of the virus is contained and protect the health and safety of employees at mines, and other persons who may be directly affected," the department said.

The Labour Court this month ordered binding regulations be put in place to protect workers from the pandemic, after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union sought urgent legal action as mines were permitted to ramp up during the country's lockdown.

The industry employs about 500,000 people.

The number of COVID-19 cases among mineworkers has increased from 16 on Monday to 18, according to the latest figures from the Minerals Council South Africa.

The council's standard operating procedure is the basis of regulation until the new guidelines are set to come into effect on May 18.

The country's mining sector was shuttered - except collieries supplying Eskom - as part of a strict nationwide lockdown in March but some mines applied for exemptions and the industry was allowed to ramp up to a 50% workforce capacity in April.