Business Maverick understands that the Minerals Council SA, some unions and the government have agreed in principle that 60% to 70% of the mine labour force will go back to work on 16/17 April, with protocols in place to contain the spread of Covid-19. It remains unclear if the lockdown will be extended beyond then, but the mining industry is planning to reboot as quickly as possible.
Mineral and Energy Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe met some unions and the mining industry on Wednesday 8 April to plot a way to keep the crucial sector humming. This follows Tuesday's meetings when the minister discussed what options were available in the event the lockdown is extended.
A well-placed source, who asked not to be identified, but with direct knowledge of what was discussed, told Business Maverick:
"Minerals Council and the department and unions have agreed that mine workers must go back on the 16th and 17th of April.
"When they come back to work parties have agreed that intensive screening must be done and those who are found to be infected must be isolated and those who are sick must be sent to hospital. The industry has agreed to make its hospitals...