JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti has embarked on a remarkable number of humanitarian initiatives to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, including making two of its mining hospitals available to the provincial governments of North West and Gauteng for the exclusive use by them to treat and isolate Covid-19 patients.
The Johannesburg- and New York-listed company, headed by Canadian Kelvin Dushnisky, said on Thursday that it was working on a number of fronts to support healthcare providers, bolster community health and hygiene responses, and to provide relief to the most vulnerable in society.
At hospital level, the gold mining company, which is in the process of exiting its last remaining South African operations, has:
- given over the fully equipped, 270-bed West Vaal hospital, near Orkney, in the North West province;
- made available the nigh 300-bed West Wits hospital building, near Carletonville, in western Gauteng;
- procured 27 electronic intensive-care beds for the Covid-19 isolation units of Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital; and
- is providing and servicing 24 mobile toilets to the same hospital, which is the world’s third-largest healthcare facility.
When AngloGold closed the West Wits hospital a number of years ago as part of the restructuring of its South African portfolio, it donated the hospital’s equipment to other healthcare facilities or nonprofit organisations in the community.
But the building still has the necessary oxygen piping infrastructure and other design elements needed for a fully functioning healthcare centre and the Gauteng Health Department is working to ensure that it is fully equipped and recommissioned in the coming weeks.
“The provincial health teams have worked with incredible diligence to ensure these facilities are made available to serve the public. We’re pleased to work alongside the authorities in this national effort,” AngloGold Ashanti VP health Dr Bafedile Chauke stated in a media release to Mining Weekly on Thursday.
Other AngloGold Ashanti support initiatives include:
- donating locally supplied masks to the Merafong municipality in Gauteng, the Matlosana municipality in North West and the Chris Hani, OR Tambo and Amathole municipalities in the Eastern Cape;
- locally manufacturing free-standing 1 000 litre water tanks for handwashing;
- distributing 5 000 care parcels of groceries, handwash, multipurpose cleaner and Covid-19 information to social-grant beneficiaries, to help cushion the effects of the 21-day lockdown;
- working with the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, City of Johannesburg, Johannesburg Water, City of Tshwane, particularly in the Hammanskraal area, and taxi associations to improve hand hygiene by placing the 1 000 litre handwashing water tanks at major taxi ranks and in areas without sufficient reticulated water; and
- pledging R20-million to the independent Solidarity Response Fund used to provide rapid curve-flattening support the healthcare sector and humanitarian support to vulnerable households and communities.
AngloGold Ashanti VP sustainability Kgomotso Tshaka said the company was committed to multi-stakeholder efforts aimed at curtailing the spread of Covid-19 and the protection of those most at risk from the devastating effects of the virus.
Two mineworkers at AngloGold's Obuasi gold mine in Ghana have tested positive for coronavirus, but none in South Africa, where the company is selling its last local asset, the deep Mponeng gold mine and surface operation Mine Waste Solutions, to Harmony Gold for an expected $300-million.
At the end of 2019, the company had $463-million of cash, and $2-billion of debt and revolving credit facilities (RCF) with $1.42-billion and R4.65-billion available.