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Our response to COVID-19

Our overriding priority at Petra is the health, safety and wellbeing of all our people. We are also committed to protecting the ongoing viability of our operations and the livelihoods of our employees, contractors and stakeholder beneficiaries.

The guidance and advice we are providing employees on COVID-19 follows World Health Organisation (“WHO”) guidelines and is supplemented by local guidance where we operate. We have established a COVID-19 Committee comprising of multi-disciplinary specialists within the Group to regularly review and update our advice to employees, establish business continuity planning, and to ensure managerial oversight is effective and properly coordinated.

Message from Richard Duffy, CEO of Petra Diamonds:

“We are taking all actions necessary to support the measures to limit the outbreak of COVID-19 in the countries in which we operate and to decrease the threat to our employees, contractors and other local stakeholders. We remain committed to protecting the ongoing viability of our operations, to the benefit of all our stakeholders.”


Read all news related to COVID-19 here.


Actions to address COVID-19

Petra has implemented comprehensive systems and strategies to address COVID-19 and is taking a number of steps to help prevent and/or contain the spread of virus at our operations in South Africa and Tanzania. These include:

  • COVID-19 Committee established comprising of multi-disciplinary specialists who report into our Executive Committee and on to the Board.
  • A comprehensive COVID-19 Awareness and Response Plan covering Group-wide operations.
  • A 24/7 COVID-19 call centre for employees has been established.
  • Company-wide COVID-19 awareness training, including formal training, awareness posters (surface and underground) and COVID-19 handout guides in line with WHO guidance, as well as frequent communications via text message and the Company’s social media channels.
  • Establishment of the Petra Hardship Fund, which will provide targeted assistance to distressed communities and qualifying employees to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. The Petra Hardship Fund will be financed by funds raised from the management salary reductions announced on 1 May.
  • Operations running in line with local guidelines – in South Africa a lockdown has been implemented and our mines are therefore running at the most minimal production levels possible required in order to maintain the integrity of our caving operations (similar to care and maintenance) and essential services.
  • Enforced social distancing and increased sanitisation measures (including regular, deep cleaning of employee congestion points such as entry and exit turnstiles, underground conveyances, change houses and lamp rooms).
  • Personal Protective Equipment for all employees, with specific focus security and health workers.
  • Where possible, we will allow employees to work from home.
  • Domestic and international travel is suspended.
  • Visitor, contractor and consultant entry controls have been implemented.
  • Temperature scanners to identify employees with temperature above 38 degrees before entering work premises.
  • As a result of the use of shared testing devices, a temporary deactivation of 100% alcohol testing has been implemented with a return to random testing, with increased precautionary sanitisation.
  • Temporary deactivation of biometric fingerprint access readers for hygiene reasons.
  • Identification of at-risk employees with underlying health conditions (e.g. HIV positive, asthma, cardiac conditions), with at-risk employees encouraged not to volunteer for essential services at work.
  • Established COVID-19 evaluation rooms.
  • Flu vaccinations (through employees own medical aids / Petra initiative to purchase flu vaccine).
  • Where Petra has provided local small-to-medium-sized enterprises with funding by way of loans, the Company has allowed for a two-month payment and interest holiday, with the aim of supporting local businesses to withstand this difficult time.

How we are supporting our stakeholders

  • By focusing on the education and training of all our employees and contractors, we support the COVID-19 information and communications drive by reaching members of our local communities through our people.
  • The Petra Hardship Fund has been established to provide assistance to distressed communities and qualifying employees and will be awarded on the basis of greatest need.
  • The Finsch mine has supplied the Kgatelopele Local Municipality with PPE (masks and gloves), as well as soap and hand sanitisers.
  • As part of a wellness campaign to make flu vaccines available for free to employees and contractors, the Finsch mine has also extended this service to the vulnerable communities in Lime Acres, supporting elderly local residents with the 2020 Flu Vaccine, as well as vitamins to help boost their immune systems ahead of the winter season.
  • The Finsch, Cullinan and Koffiefontein mines are distributing food parcels to the most vulnerable groups within their communities.
  • The Finsch health clinic is open to community members and can see in the region of 50 people per day.
  • Where Petra has provided local small-to-medium-sized enterprises with funding by way of loans, the Company has allowed for a two-month payment and interest holiday, with the aim of supporting local businesses to withstand this difficult time.
  • Finsch employees who have been trained to sew as part of Petra’s portable skills training programme have been producing face masks in partnership with the Local Authority and Kgatelopele Social Development Forum to protect the most vulnerable members of the Kgatelopele community.
  • The Cullinan mine is working with the Guateng Province Department of Health to protect and support local communities. The mine has donated two refurbished shipping containers as testing, screening and storage facilities and is also making a monthly donation of PPE equipment and thermal scanners.
  • The Cullinan mine is also donating and distributing food parcels to the value of ZAR 500 000 to vulnerable individuals and families in its local communities.

Operations update

South Africa

South Africa commenced an initial 21 day national lockdown on 26 March 2020 in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

In line with recommendations issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (“DMRE”), Petra scaled down its operations in the country to operate at a minimum level in order to maintain the block caves, while instigating rigorous protocols to protect the health and safety of all Petra people.

On 16 April 2020 the Minister of Minerals and Energy in South Africa announced that mining companies that have been restricted to care and maintenance or scaled down activities were able to ramp up to a 50% labour capacity during the period of the nationwide lockdown. All of the Company’s South African operations have now ramped up to this level. In addition, on 23 April 2020, President Ramaphosa announced a phased, risk-based approach to lifting restrictions that would commence on 1 May 2020. Details on the impact of this on the Company are still being discussed with the DMRE.

Prior to ramping up production, companies were required to demonstrate that they have Standard Operating Procedures (“SOPs”) in place that comply with the Mineral Council South Africa’s COVID-19 guidelines. In addition, the DMRE has applied a number of conditions to the increase in capacity, relating to health screening and testing, the provision of quarantine facilities for employees who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as arrangements for transporting employees from their homes to their respective areas of operations. These conditions and the announcement referenced above can be found on the DMRE website.

Prior to ramping up, Petra therefore adopted SOPs and measures that are in compliance with both the directive and the conditions referred to above, in consultation with the representative labour unions and mine-based DMRE officials.


In light of the unprecedented depressed market environment, the Company has declared force majeure at the Williamson mine in Tanzania and will be placing the operation on care and maintenance from the middle of April, with only essential services to be carried out in order to protect the mine’s assets and resources.

This decision is necessary to preserve the Williamson mine’s cash position in order to protect the long-term sustainability of the operation. The Company will look to resume operations once diamond prices are at a level that make it operationally sustainable.

Discussions with the Government in relation to various issues, including the overdue VAT receivables and the blocked diamond parcel, are ongoing but have been interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Useful information for our employees

Coronavirus information sheet – how does it spread, what are the symptoms and what can be done to prevent

Handwashing and hand sanitiser use at home, at play, and out and about

World Health Organisation

South Africa resources

Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999

Official Coronavirus information site

National Institute of Communicable Diseases

National Department of Health

SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111 / SMS Crime Line: 32211

GBV (Gender based violence) Command Centre: 0800 428 428 / *120*7867# from any cell phone

Women Abuse Helpline: 0800 150 150

Child line: 0800 055 555

GBVF-related service complaints (SAPS): 0800 333 177/

Persons with disabilities, SMS ‘help’ to 31531

National AIDS Helpline: 0800 012 322

National Human Trafficking Helpline: 0800 222 777

Suicide Helpline: 0800 567 567

UK resources

COVID-19 guidance for employees

Tools and services for our employees

Symptom checker app

Life Healthcare, which renders certain medical services for our employees, has made available a COVID-19 Symptom Checker App to help people understand their personal risk profile. This app is aligned with the WHO and SA National Institute of Communicable Diseases (“NCID”).

Click here for more information or to download for Android.

Click here to install on iOS.

Risk assessment service

Hello Doctor has made available a single USSD number: *120*394# that launches with a COVID-19 risk assessment tool, the outcome of which triggers a Doctor Callback if needed and a list of FAQ’s if not. A doctor will call high risk patients back on their mobile phone, resulting in either resolution or referral. This service, which is endorsed by the Department of Health and endorsed by the NICD, requires no airtime, works on any mobile phone, and is completely free to the end user. For more information call 087 2300 002, email, or visit

Employee enquiries

External enquiries

All external enquiries relating to COVID-19 should be directed to: