Firestone Diamonds has suspended operations at its Liqhobong Mine, in Lesotho for at least 21 days to safeguard its workforce and surrounding community from the coronavirus pandemic.
The company will, however, continue with essential care and maintenance services and security.
“The health, safety and wellbeing of the mine's workforce and surrounding community is of paramount concern to the company,” said Firestone.
“All staff on the mine may be especially vulnerable to an onset of the coronavirus due to the remote location of the mine and distance from expert medical care, high altitude and close proximity to one another in buildings on mine.”
Lesotho is landlocked by South Africa and the Liqhobong Mine is dependent on South Africa for a large portion of its essential mining supplies.
The South African government recently announced a 21-day national lockdown, effective midnight Thursday 26 March 2020 to midnight Thursday 16 April 2020, in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Lucapa Diamond also said that the lockdown in South Africa will also impact the ongoing operations of the Mothae kimberlite diamond mine in Lesotho, particularly on the flow of essential mining supplies and services across the border from South Africa.
“After discussions with its partner, the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, a decision has been taken to suspend mining operations at the Mothae mine, with appropriate security measures,” it said.
“Mining and processing operations can be restarted relatively quickly should a decision be taken to reopen the mine in the near-term.”