Pan African Resources Supports Barberton Community During National Lockdown
African-focused gold producer Pan African Resources (PAR) has ramped up support for its 2,600 Barberton Mines’ employees as well as the local communities, while successfully completing three weeks of continued mining operations under National Lockdown conditions.
Over R3million in hygiene, water, and food hampers are being distributed in April to employees across PAR’s Fairview, Consort and Sheba operations, with an additional allocation provided to identified families in need within the Barberton communities close to the mines.
“In this time of crisis we recognise the economic and social hardships that communities and employees are experiencing during the National Lockdown, and we will continue to implement support programmes, in addition to our existing initiatives, to alleviate these hardships,” says Cobus Loots, chief executive officer of Pan African Resources. “Despite the difficult circumstances, we are hearted by the manner in which business and government is working together at present.”
PAR engaged relevant ministries and regulatory bodies to ensure that the company policies and procedures were in line with government requirements. The company maintains a constructive relationship with its primary regulator, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, and also with local authorities in its area of influence.
The quest to remain semi-operational in a reduced capacity comes as a direct result of the serious reality that, should the mines have ceased operations altogether, it could take up to three months to resume gold production. This would have a huge knock-on effect on forecasts and projects, employee numbers, as well as the economic injection that Barberton Mines’ provides to its hometown.
“In February when we released our Interim Results we were pleased to maintain our previous guidance of gold production of 185,000oz, at an AISC below USD1,000/oz, for the full 2020 financial year. We could never have anticipated the unexpected impact that the coronavirus has had on countries and economies across the world,” says Loots.
Barberton has been able to continue operating with a very limited workforce, whilst adhering to social distancing, hygiene and other mandated protocols.
The underground and administrative personnel have been significantly scaled down, operating at a mere 20% of underground and less than 3% of admin staff, as Barberton complies with National Lockdown government regulations outlined to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“PAR’s commitment to adhering to all precautionary measures is not something taken lightly, and the ability to continue working toward some level of gold output will do its part in supporting the local economy through this global pandemic.”
The future and prospects of the Barberton region is still inextricably linked to that of its gold mining operations, and the mines not only provide employment and economic opportunities, but their community and local economic development programmes are essestial for an area with limited other prospects.
“Looking beyond this uncertainty we have to do what we can to protect our people and our communities, and we are proud of the way in which our team at Barberton Mines has taken on this challenge.
“When we emerge from this crisis, the South African economy will be heavily dependent on businesses like ours to provide employment and generate foreign currency earnings, and we are confident that Barberton Mines will be well positioned to resume full-scale operations and generate sustainable benefits for all”, concludes Loots.