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Sibanye-Stillwater and Wits collaborate on face shields project

- Wits University

Sibanye-Stillwater collaborates with Wits to produce face shields for frontline health workers in the Group’s South African operations.

The face shields are made by student and community volunteers from the Wits School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical (MIA) Engineering, in a partnership between Sibanye-Stillwater and Wits University`s Digimine. In response to the COVID-19 challenges, Sibanye-Stillwater donated a laser cutter and material to the Digital Makerspace team at the Wits TMG Makerspace, Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct to produce personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Laser cutter donated to Wits by Sibanye-Stillwater

To date, the volunteers have produced 6700 shields from the Braamfontein campus at no cost, which have been distributed to Sibanye-Stillwater’s SA mines and community members. This project has been used as a training platform, to enable the transfer of skills. The volunteers are working on producing face shields from recycled plastic to reduce the impact on the environment.

The Group will distribute 3700 face shields to health facilities around its operations in Gauteng, Free State and North West provinces. The MIA team has produced and distributed 27 000 face shields in aid of frontline health and community workers. The University has collaborated with several partners that have contributed towards the production of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Tanya Schönwald, Development Specialist at Wits expressed gratitude for the ongoing partnership with Sibanye-Stillwater which, will yield positive impact in the mining community and in society. “It is imperative that we always work collectively, but particularly in challenging times, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our partnership is based on the principle of contributing to the well-being of all in our country and we are proud to be a part of this team. We wish to extend a special gratitude to the team at Wits TMG Makerspace, who spent countless hours producing PPE to keep us safe,” she said.

Tshepiso Polo and Brandon Fischer from Tshimologong Makerspace with face shields produced for Sibanye-Stillwater

Chief Executive Officer of Sibanye-Stillwater said that he is pleased that their “investment in innovation is delivering results and has contributed towards our social and health efforts to support local communities during COVID-19.”

“This contribution is in addition to our donation of PPE and sanitisers to clinics and hospitals in areas around our operations and in the Eastern Cape Province. We will continue to look for opportunities to support our communities and health facilities to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he added.