On March 27, South Africa’s government announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown, aiming to curb the coronavirus outbreak. All underground mines and furnaces, excluding coal mines, supplying to the state power company Eskom, were ordered to be shut down for care and maintenance. The lockdown has been extended to the end of April but, with some easing of restrictions for the mining sector.
“If you leave a mine for a long time, an active mine without activity, it poses the danger of rockfalls and increases the chances of seismicity. So we don’t want that,” said the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, adding that it was agreed mines could start operating at 50 percent.
South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of chrome ore besides producing other minerals and metals.