South Africa entered lockdown on March 26
, which severely tightened exports of 37% manganese ore, UG2 chrome ore and foundry grade chromite, among other materials.
The government has since granted permission for mines to operate
. But strict controls are in place to prevent the spread of the virus among workers following the lowering of alert from level 5 to 4 on May 1.
South Africa plans to ramp up its exports again but this process will be characterized by stops and starts across the supply chain, possibly at a nationwide level.
Many miners live in hostels and travel in minibuses to and from work, allowing opportunities for the virus to spread.
Additionally, the presence of underlying health conditions means many mining company employees are particularly susceptible to infection.