Mining industry executive char

Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe

Mining industry executive charged with breaking lockdown regulations

CEO of Implats Rustenburg operation released on R60 000 bail while police continue with their investigations.

Mining industry executive char

Mineral Resources Minister, Gwede Mantashe

A senior mining industry executive has appeared in court over his company’s alleged contravention of lockdown regulations. Mark Munroe, CEO of Impala Platinum’s Rustenburg operations, was released on R60 000 bail at the Bafokeng Magistrate’s Court on Friday 17 April.

The company has been charged with violations of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, but Munroe appeared in court as its representative. The police will now undertake further investigations and no date for a second court appearance has been set.

The state alleges that Munroe breached lockdown regulations by signing a letter dated 12 April that requested certain employees to return to the Rustenburg mines by 14 April. When workers began returning they were stopped at police roadblocks and prevented from reaching the mine’s premises.

Charge may be a result of confusion over regulations

It may be that the charge against Impala Platinum results from confusion as to what mines may and may not do during this period.

Munroe apparently believed he was operating within regulations set out by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in conjunction with the Minerals Council South Africa. Under this process, certain non-essential workers can be recalled so that mining operations can begin ramping up. Currently, full production is only expected again in late May.

Company says it followed required processes and precautions

“Through the council, the mining industry has been working closely with the department on a process to systematically recall some non-essential workers and get some operational activities going again after the Easter long weekend,” Implats spokesperson Johan Theron said. “There was a process and precautionary measures agreed with the department in the application process, which everyone has followed, including Mark.”

In comments made on Thursday 16 April, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe noted that there had been “a lot of confusion” over the letter.

In outlining his plans for the mining industry to emerge from lockdown, he said production would resume at half-capacity and gradually ramp up under controlled conditions to reach full production late in May.