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While many of its contemporaries are closing operations, or at the very least reducing production and manpower, Ivanhoe has responded to government-imposed protocols by implementing lockdown procedures at all three of its projects: Kamoa-Kakula, Platreef and Kipushi. It notes that, to date, no cases of the virus have been discovered.
"At Kamoa-Kakula, the mine site has been locked down and all key personnel is on site, except for the supply of food and critical equipment under strict delivery protocols," the company said.
It confirmed 881 employees, previously based from the mines' surrounding communities and Kolwezi, have now been moved into permanent accommodations on the project site. In addition, up to 250 more employees will soon be moved to the site, once it can expand its capacity.
"At present, a total of 3,532 employees and contractors are based at the mine site, which ensures operational continuity and minimises the impact on the development schedule," company co-chairs Robert Friedland and Yufeng 'Miles' Sun said.
At the Platreef mine in South Africa, shaft-sinking work has been stopped until at least April 16; it is operating with a skeleton crew to maintain it during care and maintenance.
At Kipushi in the DRC, the company has also temporarily suspended operations and is keeping a small workforce around, along with maintaining the mine's pumping operations.
A COVID-19 senior management task team, together with the Kamoa-Kakula on-site medical response team UK-based medical service provider Medical Support Solutions, is implementing key procedures across the business to ensure minimal disruption to its operations.
Ten intensive care units, each equipped with a ventilator, and 20 high-care units willl be available to treat patients at Kamoa-Kakula. A quarantine facility for up to 60 patients is also planned.
"We are taking action to support our employees and communities as the COVID-19 situation evolves," Friedland said. "Our aim is to keep our operations running safely, and we are monitoring the situation closely."
The Kamoa-Kakula copper project is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines (39.6%), Zijin Mining Group (39.6%), Crystal River Global (0.8%) and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (20%).