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Gratomic to resume today after COVID setback

Graphite hopeful Gratomic is set to resume normal operations today at the Aukam project in Namibia following a COVID-19 setback.
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Gratomic is close to commissioning its processing facility at Aukam in Namibia

Ngaire McDiarmid

Reporter

The company had reported on May 14 an employee had tested positive as the country experienced a resurgence in cases.

It said yesterday she was continuing to recover at home without further complications and would be allowed to return to duties after testing negative in the near future.

However three more employees had since tested positive, Gratomic said.

It said none were showing symptoms and would remain in self-isolation, with local health services continuing to follow up and report on their condition.

The site had been "thoroughly disinfected" and all remaining employees had been allowed to return to site.

The functions of the four isolated employees would be temporarily fulfilled by other co-workers, the company said.

"The health and safety of our employees is our top priority and we will continue to make every effort to ensure that we are following COVID best practices in order to prevent any additional exposure to, or spread of the disease," president and CEO Arno Brand said.

Gratomic is close to commissioning its new processing facility at Aukam and is aiming to get the past-producing project back into operation, although it has not completed any economic studies.

It's moving to acquire the remaining 37% of Aukam from Next Graphite although the process had been slowed by the ongoing pandemic, Gratomic said last month.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Namibia reached a weekly high of 47 in the seven days to May 22.

The country has recorded a total of 52,946 cases and 765 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University today.

Gratomic shares (TSXV: GRAT) have ranged from C9c-$1.84 over the past year.

They closed up 6.9% to $1.24 yesterday to capitalise it at $171.8 million (US$142 million).