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Golden Star provides update on COVID-19 management controls

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Global Mining Review,

Golden Star Resources Ltd has provided an update on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic further to its announcement on 16 March 2020 in respect to the implementation of management controls.

Golden Star has taken a proactive response to the threat posed by COVID-19 and quickly implemented a range of procedures to support its primary objective of protecting the health and wellbeing of its employees and host communities.

In recognition of the rising potential threat of imported cases, the company stopped all international inbound travel to Ghana from 12 March 2020. The government of Ghana subsequently closed its international borders with the exception of returning citizens and residents. Since 12 March 2020, the company has mandated returning employees, who are citizens or residents, to undertake a 14 day period of self-quarantining.

Update of COVID-19 in Ghana

On 27 March 2020, President Akufo-Addo announced the implementation of additional measures to stem the spread of the virus. These measures include:

  • Restriction of movement in the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions for a period of two weeks, effective from 30 March 2020.
  • Restriction of inter-city movement of vehicles and aircrafts, with exemptions for essential services and cargo.
  • Certain industries and individuals are exempt from these measures, including mining activities.

The Ghanaian government’s decision to continue mining operations provides the company with the flexibility to enable movement of personnel and cargo so that the Wassa and Prestea gold mines are able to continue operations. The company's guidance for 2020 therefore remains unchanged. The company is working with other companies and industry bodies in support of the government of Ghana's response to COVID-19.

As part of Golden Star's leadership and management of the COVID-19 response, the Wassa and Prestea operations have now ceased non-essential travel to and from the affected regions.

Gold sales

President Akufo-Addo announced in his third address to the Ghanaian people that the country would close all its land, sea and air borders to human traffic for a period of two weeks from midnight on 22 March 2020. Goods, supplies and cargo are exempt from these restrictions.

The border restrictions have reduced the number of commercial flights to and from Ghana. As a result, the Company has worked with its refining partner to implement alternative arrangements for the transportation of gold doré to the refining facilities in South Africa. The refinery has obtained consent from the South African government to continue operations during the national three-week shutdown in South Africa. The company retains these arrangements under review and have assessed alternative options should the situation in South Africa change.

Supply chain

Further to the details on the critical consumable supply chains and constraints in access to specialists and consultants, the company provides the following update:

  • Supply chains for the key consumables, including cyanide, lime, grinding media, fuel and lubricants, remain intact.
  • Alternative suppliers have been identified for essential Accra and Kumasi based supply chains.
  • Additional essential medical and pharmaceutical supplies and facilities have been secured for delivery in the near future.

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the company continues to manage the supply chain risk closely and remains in regular contact with its key suppliers.

Notwithstanding the different obstacles currently facing the business, both its operations continue to function with minimal impact at this point in time. Furthermore, the company has carried out detailed business continuity planning based on a range of scenarios which could materialise as the situation evolves.

Management controls

Further to the details on the implementation of COVID-19 management controls that were reported in the previous release on 16 March 2020, the company has provided a summary of the principal measures that have been taken as a reminder of the comprehensive response.

Management planning and preparedness

  • Epidemic and Pandemic Management Plans were developed and implemented prior to the World Health Organization's declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
  • Daily situation is being continually monitored and assessed with the support of International SOS.

Education and sensitisation

  • Widespread education to the workforce and host communities.
  • Open communication with Government of Ghana and union leadership.

Access, screening and travel restrictions

  • Site access control and thermal screening protocols have been effective in preventing access to the mines by people from known outbreak areas.
  • Stopped international travel for employees ahead of government travel restrictions.
  • Requirement for returning Ghanaian citizens and residents to undertake mandatory self-quarantine prior to this being implemented as a government initiative.

Hygiene and sanitation

  • Enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitation that were originally implemented for the 2014 and 2018 Ebola outbreaks have been maintained.
  • Compulsory hand sanitising stations at entry points, on company buses and at clinics.
  • Support to the local communities through the provision of water tanks for hand washing.
  • Practicing social distancing through the cessation of all non-essential meetings, gatherings and training and as well as the provision of additional meal-time eating areas and rosters to allow for greater social distancing during meals and breaks.

Medical preparedness

  • Site isolation holding facilities established for management of suspected cases.
  • Implementation of guidelines for self-quarantine and isolation.

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