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Mining and Energy amendments to COVID-19 Regulations and remarks by Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy – 16 April 2020

16 April 2020

On 16 April the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy isssued a statement regarding amendments to Regulations made under the Disaster Management Act pertaining to mining and energy.

Minister Mantashe states that the amendments relating to mining and energy provide as follows:

Energy and petroleum products

To ensure the continuous supply of energy and petroleum products to society:

  • collieries that supply Eskom shall continue to operate at full capacity; and
  • refineries shall operate at full capacity to avoid shortage of fuel, and such operations shall include refineries, smelters, plants and furnaces

Mining operations

Mining operations, excluding collieries that supply Eskom, shall be conducted at a reduced capacity of 50% during the period of the lockdown, and thereafter at increasing capacity as determined by the Cabinet member responsible for mineral resources and energy. We must maintain a risk-based approach.

The following conditions apply to the starting and increasing of capacity:

  • A rigorous screening and testing program must be implemented as employees return to work;
  • the mining industry must provide quarantine facilities for employees who have tested positive for the COVID-19;
  • data collected during the screening and testing programme must be submitted to the relevant authority;
  • mining companies must make arrangements to transport their South African employees from their homes to their respective areas of operations;
  • in accordance with these Regulations and other regulations applicable in neighbouring SADC countries, workers from these neighbouring countries will be recalled at the end of lockdown in their respective countries.

The monitoring and impact assessment of seismicity through the Council for Geoscience must be intensified with immediate effect. This will assist in monitoring ground stability.

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Section 24of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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