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:
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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:
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.
Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999
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/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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”).
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 email@example.com, or visit www.hellodoctor.co.za.
All external enquiries relating to COVID-19 should be directed to: