South African Diamond Producers Organisation (Sadpo) chairperson Gert van Niekerk reports in a newsletter that the organisation’s former deputy chairperson and co-founder Jaap van Heerden has passed away.
Van Niekerk goes on to report that its members in the diamond mining industry have adapted well to the challenges amid the current circumstances.
He says the last few months had been filled with virtual meetings and information-sharing webinars around mine health and safety in the thick of Covid-19, including how to curb the spread of the virus, and the impact thereof on the mining industry and staff members, the economy, as well as society as a whole.
The diamond mining industry has reported three positive cases of Covid-19, which have all fully recovered.
However, South Africa remains on an upward trend in terms of Covid-19 infections, with the peak of infection expected toward the end of August to mid-September.
Van Niekerk further mentions that Sadpo is collaborating with the departments of Mineral Resources and Energy and Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to change regulations around financial provisions and environmental management plans to simplify the mine permitting and prospecting right processes for small opencast operations.
Meanwhile, Van Niekerk states that the diamond market remains his biggest concern at the moment, owing to the inability of international companies to travel to South Africa to partake in diamond buying activity, coupled with softer prices locally, measured against international prices.
“We must make sure that our goods are being exposed as widely as possible for marketing purposes during these testing times and, simultaneously, avoid unnecessary opportunistic buying.”