IMPALA Platinum arm Zimplats was issued government permission to remain in operation at its mines in Zimbabwe, despite other mines in the country remaining idled under a country-wide order through April 19 to help stave off COVID-19 spread
The miner, which was originally part of the 21-day lockdown order by government officials supported by Mines and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando, applied for and was granted a permit for the continuation of mining and processing operations. Officials said it has allowed the company to “continue relatively uninterrupted” during the lockdown.
“Zimplats supports the decision taken by the government of Zimbabwe to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate and is committed to contributing where it can to the country’s socio-economic stability,” the company said.
“Zimplats’ primary focus is on protecting the lives and livelihoods of its employees, contractors, service providers and communities by doing all it can to sustain the financial viability of its business and its contribution to the national wellbeing of the country.”
It has also taken additional protection measures, including heightened risk mitigation measures through early COVID-19 detection, a greater focus on pandemic awareness and workplace hygiene as well as medical surveillance, additional personal protective equipment, medical supplies and the isolation and treatment of suspected and confirmed cases.
To date, Zimplats has not seen any of its workers diagnosed with the virus, and added that its medical facilities stand at the ready to assist if needed.
The miner did confirm that it received notification of a force majeure from parent Impala Platinum in regard to its offtake agreement. The notice notwithstanding, the company said it will continue to mine and process so it may supply Impala once the force majeure is lifted.
“Zimplats has issued force majeure letters to contractors working on capital projects and other financial institutions, to legally suspend contractual obligations under existing contracts with them until the end of the current lockdown period or any extension thereof,” it added.