coronavirus@ (Updates, adds details, context)
March 16 (Reuters) – Gold producer Endeavour Mining said on Monday an employee at its Houndé mine in Burkina Faso tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday and was placed under quarantine but mining and exploration activities were not disrupted.
The employee experienced mild symptoms hours after arriving at the site from Britain, the company said, and the few people who were in contact with the employee have been identified and placed in quarantine.
Because the employee did not show symptoms on arrival and passed the company’s mandatory health screening, Endeavour said it was increasing its preventive measures by introducing a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for any employees or contractors arriving in Ivory Coast or Burkina Faso.
“Endeavour has not witnessed any impact to production or operations at any of its mines or exploration activities,” the company said in a statement.
Endeavour also said it has enough supplies and equipment, and suppliers have confirmed placed and forecast orders are intact.
The first confirmed case of the coronavirus at a mine site in Africa highlights the challenges mining companies face in managing large numbers of employees working together in often close quarters, as the virus spreads across the continent.
Burkina Faso reported its first two cases of coronavirus on March 9, and had 15 cases of the virus at last count.
Endeavour Mining shares were down 20.3% in early trading as stocks worldwide sank in a broad-based selloff. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru, Writing by Arundhati Sarkar and Helen Reid, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Barbara Lewis)