Exxaro notes the concern expressed by Limpopo Health MEC, Dr. Phophi Ramathuba regarding the rising number of COVID-19 cases, at our Grootegeluk Complex (GGC) mine, in Lephalale, in the Limpopo Province.
“The health and safety of our employees takes priority, which is why we have remained proactive in ensuring that we continue to operate according to COVID-19 testing protocols which we initiated when the country was at Alert Level 5 last year. Even as the country moved to the lower Alert Levels, we never let up on our COVID-19 prevention and testing measures,” says Mzila Mthenjane, Exxaro’s Executive Head for Stakeholder Affairs.
“At the current moment, we can confirm that we have 88 active cases at GGC as at 27 November 2021 – 34 of whom are fully vaccinated and 54 not vaccinated. Despite the sudden surge in numbers, there’s yet no hospitalisation case to date. We were able to pick up these cases due to our COVID-19 monitoring and surveillance protocols, whereby across all our operations, we proactively and daily test all employees who have been off site for more than 5 days, those who are displaying symptoms and initiate random testing for those who work in high traffic areas at the operations,” he says.
Exxaro confirms that none of the 88 active cases are displaying severe COVID-19 illness or symptoms and that 33 are not having any symptoms. All 88 are in isolation as per the protocols.
Mthenjane adds that in response to this concerning matter, the mining and resources company, has secured a second vaccination day through the Department of Health. “We initially vaccinated only on Thursdays. However, we managed to secure a second vaccination day which will be on Tuesdays commencing this coming week. This will aid in increasing the number of employees and community members to get vaccinated in and around the Lephalale community. We are working collaboratively with the Limpopo Provincial Department of Health to ensure adequate resources and facilities are provided to ramp up the vaccination drive.”
Exxaro’s GGC mine has fully vaccinated 4903 (76%) out of 6417 of its workforce through the mines’ accredited COVID-19 vaccination and testing lab. The company has also vaccinated more than 2300 community members and continues to offer free testing services to the community as an extension to all employees’ next of kin.
“We are closely monitoring the situation – not only at our GGC mine, but across all our operations. All employees who test as active cases are carefully managed through our 24-hour COVID-19 Call Centre where our health personnel check in on them three times a day to ensure that none of them are experiencing any distress. Employees are also furnished with oximeters and medication, including essential vitamins,” says Mthenjane.
A total of 68.91% of Exxaro’s employee and contractor workforce across the business has been vaccinated. The company is working on reaching herd immunity of 80% ahead of the festive season.