Sat, 30 May 2020

While Impala Platinum [JSE: IMP] has shut down the majority of its operations, it intends to apply to continue limited operations in South Africa.

In a notice to shareholders, issued on Monday, Implats said it as supportive of the 21-day national lockdown to slow down the spread of the Covid-19. Last week President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the national shut down and said "companies whose operations require continuous processes such as furnaces or underground mine operations will be required to make arrangements for care and maintenance to avoid damage to their continuous operations," Fin24 previously reported.

Implats was among the mining companies which made arrangements to shut down some of their operations. "Implats successfully ramped down all South African mining operations (Impala Rustenburg and Marula) and placed them on care and maintenance from Thursday, 26 March 2020.

"Essential care and maintenance services are continuing to ensure the integrity of key infrastructure and facilitate a safe start-up once operations are cleared to resume," the notice read.

The group has applied for permission to conduct "limited smelting operations" at Impala Rustenburg and limited operations at the Springs refinery. It will also apply to conduct limited underground ore transport and milling at its South African mining operations. "This would greatly assist in securing underground infrastructure during the lockdown period and significantly enhance our ability to safely resume operations after the lockdown period," it said.

It has also applied to continue operations in Zimbabwe, where a 21-day national lockdown was instituted on Monday.

Its operations in Canada have not been impacted by the 14-day lockdown, as the mining operations have been classified as essential business.

READ | Mining companies gear up for unprecedented 21-day shutdown

Impala Rustenburg hospital will also remain open and fully operational during the lockdown period. No Covid-19 cases have been diagnosed among Implats' employees and their dependents.

"Management met with organised labour at both the national and branch level before the lockdown and agreed to continue paying all employees during the 21-day lockdown period.

"However, it was communicated to all stakeholders that alternative arrangements will need to be implemented should the lockdown period continue beyond the envisaged 21 days," Implats warned.

Furthermore it issued force majeure letters to contractors and consultants for the duration of the lockdown - this means obligations under these contracts are legally suspended for the period. Similarly force majeure letters were issued in respect of offtake agreements with group companies and third parties.

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