Sibanye-Stillwater refutes Covid-19 social media hoax

Marikana operations. (Image courtesy of Sibanye-Stillwater)

Sibanye-Stillwater (JSE: SGL) (NYSE: SBGL) refuted allegations spread out on social media, which stated that there was a confirmed case of Covid-19 at its Marikana platinum group metal mine in the North West province of South Africa.

In a media statement, the company called the allegations a “social media hoax” and emphasized that there have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus infections at its operations.

According to Sibanye-Stillwater, a screenshot of a breaking news story from a prominent South African news agency regarding a purported confirmed case of Covid-19 at Marikana was being shared on a number of social media platforms. The false information was also picked up by a broadcast channel without verification.

“We have prepared and implemented detailed measures to prevent infection among employees and restrict the spread of the Covid-19 virus”

Sibanye-Stillwater management

Once it was made aware of the situation, the miner reached out to the agency and confirmed that the information was fake. 

“This a malicious and disingenuous hoax and could potentially have far-reaching and damaging consequences for the company, the mining industry and the country,” the media brief states. “Sibanye-Stillwater views this in an extremely serious light and will pursue legal action when the source of the hoax is traced. The relevant regulatory authorities have also been informed and will no doubt pursue their own course of action.”

The Weltevreden Park-based firm urged stakeholders and the public to question any information from sources other than its official releases, the Minerals Council or the South African regulatory authorities.

In response to this situation, the Minerals Council South Africa also issued a communiqué condemning the false report and asking the media to avoid misrepresentations. 

“The Minerals Council recognises that the accessibility of information and transparency is critical in its efforts to prevent and contain the spread of covid-19; to support the rapid detection and isolation of individuals who may have been affected, and to ensure that employees and their families have the understanding and support they need in this challenging time,” the release reads. “At the same time, it is important that other stakeholders, such as shareholders and the media, are equally well informed.”

Earlier this week, the group said the country’s mining industry is well-prepared to deal with the emergency as risk-management principles are being implemented and amended as the situation evolves. 

As of Sunday, South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases had confirmed a total of 240 cases of Covid-19 in the country.

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