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UPDATE: 164 workers at AngloGold’s Mponeng Mine test positive for COVID-19

The mine conducted 650 tests on workers who were in primary contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus.

FILE: AngloGold Ashanti's Mponeng Mine in Carletonville. Picture: anglogoldashanti.com

JOHANNESBURG - AngloGold Ashanti on Sunday said 164 workers at its Mponeng Mine in Merafong, west of Johannesburg, had tested positive for COVID-19.

The Gauteng Department of Health earlier on Sunday had placed the figure at 53.

The mine conducted 650 tests on workers who were in primary contact with someone who had tested positive for the virus.

Just last week, operations at the Impala Platinum Marula mine in Limpopo were brought to a halt after 13 workers contracted the disease.

Two miners at Harmony Gold’s Kalgold gold mine, in the North West, had also tested positive for COVID-19.

AngloGold Ashanti said following the detection of its first COVID-19 case at the Mponeng Mine last week, a comprehensive screening, contact tracing, and testing programme revealed several cases on-site.

“AngloGold Ashanti conducted 650 tests since last Thursday, including primary contacts and many who wished to be tested on a voluntary basis. This process has indicated 164 positive cases with only a handful of tests left to process. Importantly, of the positive cases, the vast majority are asymptomatic.

"All positive cases will be isolated in line with national health protocols, with on-site facilities available for those who may need them,” the gold miner said in a statement on Sunday.

The Departments of Health, Mineral Resources and Energy, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), regional health authorities, and labour unions were being engaged in the process, the company said.

The spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health, Kwara Kekana, said they were informed of the first 53 positive cases at Mponeng Mine.

“Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku and the Gauteng health team will meet with the mine management this afternoon [Sunday] to receive a report on the consolidated response and management of cases,” Kekana said.

AngloGold Ashanti said as a precautionary step, operations at the mine - which were running at 50% - would be temporarily halted to complete tracing and to sanitise the plant.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.