Anglo American aids workers during lockdown

The Dawson coal mine in Queensland. Image: Anglo American.

Anglo American has endeavoured to keep its Australian operations running as normal, while continuing to pay all 47,000 of its South African employees during the country’s 21-day lockdown.

With the resources sector deemed an essential service in Australia, Anglo American has implemented health and social distancing measures at its metallurgical coal mines in the Bowen Basin, Queensland.

This allows the mining giant to continue operations despite the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are maintaining the security and integrity of our assets and the supply of essential raw materials to customers,” Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani said.

“(This preserves) our ability to return operations to normal levels as swiftly as possible when appropriate.

“We want to ensure we are ready to support what will be a crucial economic recovery phase for the countries in which we operate and the global economy.”

Anglo American has halted all non-essential travel to its operations and has relocated some workers to live locally near the mine sites.

This includes substituting commercial flights with charter flights to transport the workers to sites, as well as ensuring social distancing, hygiene measures and reduced interaction with the general public.

Anglo American has also reduced its payment terms for all small to medium Australian businesses to 14 days to support them during this difficult time.

In South Africa, the company has taken the responsibility to care for its host communities, recognising that many of the areas it operates in are underdeveloped.

Anglo American provided water tanks to 69 villages and 70 clinics to educate locals on how to keep their families safe from the coronavirus.

“We are a global mining company and we have a vital role to play in delivering support to our host communities throughout this difficult time,” Cutifani said.

“The broad-based economic and social contribution that mining makes cannot be underestimated.”

As South Africa enters a 21-day lockdown, Anglo American plans to pay its employees salaries to ensure they are able to focus on the health and safety of their families.

The company has kept its South African coal mines operating and the Mpumalanga water treatment plant open, which ensures that the nation’s economy keeps running  and people have access to clean water during the lockdown.

“Despite operating at reduced levels, we are still spending approximately $US125 million ($203 million) on procurement of goods and services from our suppliers and on wages (in South Africa),” Anglo American stated.

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