During the first quarter of 2014, an outbreak of the haemorrhagic Ebola Virus occurred, originating in the southern forests of Macenta in Guinea and spreading rapidly to adjacent areas, including the capital Conakry and neighbouring Liberia. Subsequently, the disease spread to Sierra Leone and, by year end, travel-associated incidences of the disease had also occurred in several other countries.
To promote a controlled and appropriate response to this potential threat to operations, particularly in Guinea, AngloGold Ashanti convened its crisis management committee. Work included developing scenarios relating to the spread of the epidemic and to potential political instability which might ensue. Scenario planning considered the identification of risk drivers to support our understanding of the spread of the disease and the extent to which operations might be affected.
Four scenarios were developed, using two key drivers of risk:
· The extent to which the disease was spreading; and
· Country and regional responses influencing our ability to execute crisis management plans
Scenarios and signals identified through Ebola scenario planning
When two cases were identified in Siguiri town early in the third quarter of 2014, the company crisis management team was able to identify the actions required, based on an understanding of the events which would trigger an escalation or de-escalation in our response.
In accordance with this plan, 55 expatriates were evacuated during the third quarter following closure of the Senegalese border with Guinea and the imposition of travel restrictions on Guinea by other countries. Contingency plans for maintaining production, supply chain management and bullion routing were also executed.
By late February 2015, over 3,000 people in Guinea were reported to have contracted the disease, with over 2,000 losing their lives. However, there have been no cases of the disease among AngloGold Ashanti employees or their families. The company continues to maintain a vigilant approach to the epidemic and to monitor its potential impact using the scenario planning tool developed.