March 26, 2020 / 2:03 PM / 3 months ago

Aveng to stop mining activities during South Africa lockdown

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Aveng will stop mining activities at its South African sites during a 21-day lockdown over the coronavirus crisis, while some of its operations in New Zealand have stopped temporarily, the construction and resources company said on Thursday.

Aveng’s South African business, Moolmans, currently has open cut contract mining operations in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces as well as in Guinea in West Africa plus a deep level operation in the Limpopo province of South Africa.

Moolmans is also involved in underground mining.

Aveng said essential care and maintenance activities would continue as required on a site by site basis to ensure mining activities can restart as quickly as possible after the national lockdown.

Mining companies in South Africa are bracing for a heavy hit from the lockdown, with many putting mines on care and maintenance status.

The country’s minister of mines and energy said on Wednesday mining firms would continue to process platinum group metals during the lockdown.

In New Zealand, 75% of the offshore operations of Aveng’s subsidiary McConnell Dowell have been temporarily stopped due to a lockdown there. In South East Asia, one project in Indonesia has been impacted while all projects in Australia are currently operational, it said.

McConnell Dowell, an engineering, construction and maintenance contractor, has an order book made up of 90% government projects across its operating regions in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and South East Asia.

Following announcements of temporary operational closures by a number of large automotive customers in South Africa and the port authority, Aveng Trident Steel operations have also shut down, alongside operations in its remaining manufacturing businesses.

“Revenue will be reduced through this period until projects restart,” the company said.

“We will continue to engage with our clients, suppliers, insurers, banks and investors over the coming days and weeks to find ways to protect Aveng, ensure its ongoing sustainability and alleviate the burden on our people and other stakeholders.”

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla. Editing by Jane Merriman

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