SIBANYE-Stillwater described an online hoax that claimed the firm had a confirmed case of COVID-19 at its Marikana platinum group metal (PGM) mine as having “potentially far-reaching and damaging consequences” for the company.
It promised to hunt down the source of the hoax and pursue legal action.
“Sibanye-Stillwater views this in an extremely serious light and will pursue legal action when the source of the hoax is traced,” it said. “The relevant regulatory authorities have also been informed and will no doubt pursue their own course of action.”
South African mining companies issued a string of announcements last week detailing plans to tackle the threat of COVID-19 starting with prevention and then measures to quarantine employees should any become infected. Business continuity plans had also been put in place.
“The mining industry’s preparedness plans are very far advanced, based on established risk-management principles, and are currently being implemented and amended as this unprecedented situation evolves,” said Roger Baxter, CEO of the Minerals Council South Africa.
Marikana is the former Lonmin operations Sibanye-Stillwater bought for about R4.2bn in an all-share transaction last year.
The hoax consisted of a screenshot of a breaking news story from “… a prominent South African news agency”.
The Minerals Council South Africa added its voice saying it condemned the hoax “… in the strongest possible terms” and said it would provide a daily update on its website if and when incidents of COVID-19 were confirmed at members’ operations.