Lucapa Diamond Company has whittled down activities at its Lulo mine in Angola to essential operations amid a government lockdown on the country.
The shutdown, currently in force until April 11, excludes the mining industry, though authorities have stipulated certain health-and-safety measures that companies must take. However, Lucapa has chosen to cut back activities in an effort to stem the spread of the outbreak, it said Wednesday.
“The lockdown measures outlined in the presidential decree do allow certain industrial activities to continue, including mining,” the miner noted. “However, in the interests of ensuring the health and safety of staff, the activities on the concession have been reduced to essential operations with camp-based staff until the authorities advise otherwise or [the] national state of emergency is lifted.”
Meanwhile, a special working regime has also been implemented at the Catoca mine, a partnership between Alrosa and state mining company Endiama, according to Angop, Angola’s national news service. The measures include a shutdown of all production operations at the mine, with only essential crew remaining at the site.
Catoca, located in Angola’s Lunde Sul province, produces more than 75% of the country’s rough diamonds.
Additionally, due the lockdown, the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum (MIREMPET) has extended the application and bidding deadlines for the hiring of independent diamond appraisers for state-owned diamond company Sodiam.
Angola reported its first coronavirus infections last week, after two citizens who returned from a visit to Portugal tested positive. To date, the country has reported seven cases of COVID-19 and two deaths due to the virus.
Image: Large diamonds from the Lulo mine. (Lucapa Diamond Company)