Guinea on national emergency over Ebola, mining operations threatened

Guinea on national emergency over Ebola, mining operations threatened

(Screenshot from Euronews report.)

Guinean President Alpha Conde has declared the Ebola outbreak a “national health emergency,” announcing a string of measures to keep the deadly virus at bay.

The decision means tighter border controls, the immediate isolation of anyone suspected to have Ebola, a ban on moving bodies from one town to another and the immediate hospitalization of any suspected victims.

In a statement read out on state radio, Conde said people who had been in contact with Ebola victims were "formally banned from leaving their homes until the end of their surveillance period".

For miners the situation is not sustainable in the long-term. If essential supplies are disrupted and employees stay away from work too long, production will be seriously damaged.

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE) said in April that its VBG joint venture with BSG Resources, the mining arm of Israeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz's business conglomerate, had pulled its six international staff out of Guinea and put local staff on leave.

Randgold Resources (LON:RRS), which mines gold in Mali, across the border from Guinea, instructed contractors last week not to bring any workers from Ebola-affected areas to the company's sites.

AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU) (JSE:ANG), which operates the Siguiri open-pit gold mine in Guinea, is also controlling the movement of workers to and from the mine, only 25 kilometres from the town of the same name, where cases have been reported.

The World Health Organization said this week that 170 health care workers had been infected and at least 81 had died as a result of the outbreak that began late March in Guinea, and has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, with some cases in Nigeria.