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Mining to continue during 21-day national lockdown - Mantashe

The minister said it could become too costly for mining companies to completely shut down operations during the national lockdown.

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe at a media briefing on the coronavirus on 25 March 2020 in Pretoria. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe on Wednesday said it wouldn’t be possible to completely shutdown some mining operations during the 21-day lockdown.

Mantashe was briefing the media on how the president’s lockdown declaration would affect the mining and energy sectors.

The minister said it could become too costly for mining companies to completely shut down operations during the national lockdown.

He said this could also affect the economy in the process.

“A complete shutdown will not be feasible as a restart from scratch could be too costly and negatively affect supply and therefore affect the economy as a whole,” Mantashe said.

In terms of energy supply and Eskom, Mantashe said demand was expected to decline as expected, but energy supply remained a problem.

“While demand is expected to decline for the period ahead as a result of restrictions on economic activity, the security of continued energy supply remains critical,” he said.

He said to contain the spread of COVID-19 travel would also be restricted in the mining sector.

To track the latest developments around the coronavirus both in South Africa and abroad, click on this live status report from Strategix.

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