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Kumba mine employee tests positive

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The employee is currently recuperating at home in Kathu.

An employee from Kumba’s Sishen Iron Ore mine, who tested positive for Covid-19, is currently recuperating at home in Kathu, the company has said.

According to the Northern Cape provincial government as of May 17, there are two reported coronavirus cases in the Gamagara Local Municipality. 

“There are 35 positive persons in the Northern Cape. The latest person to test positive is a 71-year-old, who resides in the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality in the Frances Baard district. There are 24 people who are deemed recovered from the virus, leaving us with 11 active cases in the Northern Cape.

“Each district has a dedicated rapid response team to intervene should there be cluster outbreaks while screening, testing and case management is conducted.” 

Anglo American media spokesperson, Sinah Phochana, said the company was assisting the employee to obtain the necessary medical attention and support during isolation. 

“The employee has not been at the mine operations since April 12. He was scheduled for a medical procedure and was required to conduct a Covid-19 test before admission to hospital. The test was conducted by his private medical doctor at Lenmed facilities in Kathu. The employee lives on his own and his domestic helper has been informed and will be quarantined and tested.” 

She added that there was no need to quarantine any other colleagues, who were also notified, as he was not in any close contact with them for the past five weeks.

“A tracing exercise in partnership with the National Institute of Communicable Disease has been initiated to establish who the individual may have come into close contact with prior to his diagnosis. 

“The proper disclosure processes in line with government regulations and Anglo American’s internal protocols were followed. In addition, the recognised unions were informed of the matter and it was reported to the Minerals Council for inclusion in their public reporting of cases in the mining industry.” 

Phochana stated that as part of the WeCare Programme, Kumba had put extensive measures in place to combat the spread of the virus in host communities. 

“These measures include the establishment of our own testing facilities, the implementation of extensive health screening measures, securing isolation and quarantine facilities for employees and their families as well as the community. 

“Our WeCare programme requires all employees to self-screen for symptoms and log their results on an app every day before they report for work. Where symptoms are recorded, initial medical support is provided at home. These measures are in addition to the screening measures at the workplace, as well as the extensive social distancing, hygiene and sanitation, and de-densification protocols that have been implemented.” 

She said that they were confident that they had the required systems in place to adequately deal with suspected infections in a safe and timeous manner. 

“We are able to test our employees, trace possible contacts where needed, and provide the necessary support where required. 

“We are also working to support our communities to adhere to the Covid-19 protocols as communicated by government which includes practicing required hygiene, maintaining social distancing and monitoring their health. By working together, we can fight the pandemic.” 

Phocahana added that all confirmed Covid-19 at their operations, were reported in line with the requirements set by government authorities and industry bodies.