Pan African Resources goes into 'essential' operation amid lockdown
Pan African Resources said on Monday that it has implemented the necessary measures at all its operations to conduct essential services during the 21-day national lockdown period in South Africa, in place in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
The AIM-traded firm said its actions were consistent with the regulations announced by the country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, on 23 March, and enacted in terms of the South African Disaster Management Act, as well as with additional applicable regulations and requirements pertinent to the national lockdown.
It said the regulations were effective from midnight on 26 March until midnight on 16 April, in an effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Essential services specific to affected Pan African Resources operations included security services, pumping and ventilation activities, metallurgical plant maintenance, inspection of underground workings, management and monitoring of tailings deposition facilities, waste management and water treatment facilities, and other health and safety related services.
The company said that as part of essential services, the group was also currently conducting limited surface re-mining and processing activities at its Elikhulu Tailings Retreatment Plant and at its Barberton Tailings Retreatment Plant.
It said the group surface operations were currently operating at about 70% of normal capacity.
Barberton Mines would, in the coming days, endeavour to resume limited operations at certain high-grade sections of its Fairview operation to ensure the required minimum feed for its ‘BIOX’ processing plant.
Pan African said it supported, and was committed to, all government efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Of the group’s total staff and contractor complement, it said only 20%, excluding security staff, were involved in the essential services.
Employees and contractors not required for essential services would remain at home for the duration of the national lockdown, the board said, as required by the regulations.
Further measures to reduce the risk of Covid-19 contamination of essential service personnel included where possible, relevant staff members were being housed in dedicated, restricted-access housing facilities for the duration of the lockdown.
Continuous screening and monitoring was also taking place, including thermal temperature monitoring, for staff members with Covid-19 symptoms.
Standby medical support was also in place, and “rigorous” social distancing and sterilisation and hygiene protocols had been implemented.
Pan African Resources said the South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy had approved its planned activities during the national lockdown, subject to compliance with and adherence to all relevant regulations and applicable legislation.
The board said the pandemic was expected to have a “severe adverse economic and social impact” on stakeholders involved in its operations.
It said it would, in the coming weeks, embark upon initiatives to assist stakeholders in that regard in the areas in which it operated.
Updated guidance for the 2020 financial year would be communicated to shareholders after the national lockdown had concluded, once the company was in a position to quantify the extent and duration of the operational disruptions during that time.
“In this time of crisis, we are heartened by the manner in which all stakeholders in the mining industry are collaborating,” said chief executive officer Cobus Loots.
“Pan African Resources recognises that the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic will be severe and far reaching.
“The impact will be even more pronounced in areas with limited resources and poverty.”
Loots said recognising the economic and social hardship that communities and employees would experience during the lockdown, the company was embarking on support programmes, in addition to its existing initiatives, to alleviate that hardship.
“Pan African Resources will continue to provide shareholders with regular updates regarding developments at group operations.”
At 1623 BST, shares in Pan African Resources were down 3.13% at 9.3p.