DRDGOLD Limited (NYSE:DRD) CEO Niël Pretorius told stakeholders on Wednesday that the gold producer has pledged its support for the national lockdown declared by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Referring to reports of the escalation of the virus around the world and of countries whose health services are collapsing, Pretorius said: “This is the situation that we need to avoid at all costs and the measures that the president announced (Monday) give us the best possible chance of doing so. Only by responding positively to his call will we avoid a catastrophe similar to what has befallen those that have left it too late.”
In an open letter to stakeholders, Pretorius said that “it is important however that we don’t panic and that we come out in full support of the measures President Ramaphosa announced to curb the spread of the virus.”
DRDGOLD, based in Johannesburg, said it will implement measures over the next few days to temporarily halt production and to place its operations in a state of care and maintenance whilst maintaining essential services.
“We will do what is required to secure our assets, prevent any harm to the environment and ensure that we can start operations up again as seamlessly as we possibly can, once the lockdown is lifted,” the CEO said.
“We are now working toward a completely different set of goals than that which we set out to achieve at the beginning of the year. Our priorities now are staying healthy, keeping our families and loved ones safe and preserving our business.”
Pretorius added: “It is essential that we have a business to return to, and more importantly, that we all return to our posts once this is over. We are in a position to do this, having built up a solid cash position over the last 12 months.”
The full text of Pretorius’ open letter can be accessed on the DRDGOLD website, www.drdgold.com
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