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UPDATE: 19 miners test positive for COVID-19 at Implats Marula mine in Limpopo

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said contract tracing has begun, while it’s still not clear if the mine will halt operations.

FILE: Impala Platinum's Marula mine in Limpopo. Picture: www.implats.co.za

JOHANNESBURG – UPDATE: The Impala Platinum mine has now updated the number of positive cases to 19.

Thirteen employees from Impala Platinum in Limpopo have tested positive for COVID-19.

It's understood workers from the Marula Platinum Mine in Burgersfort were asymptomatic during screenings.

The provincial department of health said the mining company had screened over 2,000 miners before resuming operations.

The group included those who had crossed provincial boundaries recently or been to hot spots such as the Eastern Cape.

Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said contract tracing has begun, while it’s still not clear if the mine will halt operations.

“We are working with the [department] of minerals and energy on the way forward regarding the mine once they have done their own assessment. Ours is to focus on the health of the mineworkers and the health of the community. We are busy screening all the contacts and isolating everyone.”

The resumption of mining operations has been under scrutiny with safety measures and social distancing a concern.

Earlier this month, mining union - the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) -won a court case against the government to force the authorities to impose strict guidelines on companies to protect workers against COVID-19.

South Africa - which is the world's largest platinum, manganese and chrome producer - has allowed its mines to run at half-capacity during level 4 of the lockdown.