In late January, following COVID-19 outbreak in China, MMG began actively monitoring the situation and implementing a range of safety controls. With an office in Hong Kong, we worked with our employees to implement protections consistent with local government recommendations. This included implementing working from home arrangements and travel restrictions, as well as guidelines in case of suspected exposure to the virus. Additional measures were implemented for MMG people returning from China with a mandatory two-week self-isolation period required before they would return to work.
In March 2020, the MMG Crisis Management Team (CMT) was established to oversee the Corporate and site-based responses to COVID-19. Each of our operations established an emergency management team to develop site-level plans, in close coordination with MMG’s Head Office, and proactive decisions were made based on expert medical advice.
By April, our people based in our Melbourne, Lima, Hong Kong, Vientiane and Johannesburg offices are all largely working from home. For those able to work from home, this arrangement has ensured they are safe and able to continue their tasks as much as possible with additional support provided. All employees have also been provided with mental health and support lines in their countries and local language for themselves and their families.
For those people who are required to be present in one of our offices, the following safety measures have been put into place:
- Mandatory social distancing of at least 1.5 metres while working, with desks and work stations rearranged to ensure adequate space between people
- Thorough and regular disinfecting cleans of all surfaces throughout the office
- Provision of hand sanitiser and other disinfectant materials for our people to use
Given the nature of mining for the majority of our people working from home is not an option. Those who are based at our operations are critical to the success of our business, and we are working hard to support them and to ensure their workplaces are as safe as possible.
In addition to establishing protocols for self-isolation and reporting for any employee who has been tested for the virus, we are also implementing a range of safety measures to limit the risk of transmission across all our sites. These measures include:
- Limiting non-essential travel to site
- Pre-site arrival health checks and health and safety awareness conversations
- Regular temperature and health screening
- Maintaining social distancing of at least 1.5 meters while working, eating in the dining halls and travelling to site.
- Closure of places on site where people congregate and socialise, including site restaurants, cafes and entertainment spaces
- More hygiene stations with handwash and hand sanitiser available
- Clear communication on how to keep our people safe
- Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of work areas and buses
- Sourcing more hygiene products and personal protective equipment (PPE).
All sites have developed plans in the event of a positive case being identified, the protocols for which have been established in close coordination with the site and MMG medical experts and in line with national requirements.
The operation is largely continuing as normal, though with strict controls around social distancing and hygiene. People who fly in to Dugald River from Townsville and Brisbane have their temperatures checked by nurses before boarding the plane, which has been capped to a maximum of 60 passengers to maintain adequate social distancing measures. People must fill out medical forms upon returning to site, maintain social distancing in the camp mess and entertainment areas, including the camp gym, have been closed. Educational programs and accompanying materials, including mental health awareness and personal hygiene controls, are available to all people.
We are working proactively with the Queensland Resources Council and the Queensland Government to ensure the controls we have in place meet their requirements. As the state of Queensland has implemented a strict 14-day self-isolation requirement for any persons travelling interstate, any visitors based outside of Queensland have been restricted to working remotely for now.
In late March 2020, the DRC government announced a mandatory 14-day national lock-down to prevent the spread to coronavirus in the country. During this time, the operation was supported by a small group of essential staff to ensure the safe management of minimum critical operations. Since the lifting of the lockdown on 6 April, our people have returned to work and a number of controls have been put into place to ensure their safety. All people have their temperature taken and are required to fill out a health questionnaire upon arrival at site, and any person who registers a temperature above 37.5 degrees then passes through additional health screening. Masks are required to be worn by all people, and the site has also hired an additional five nurses to support the on-site medical team during the coming months.
To date, no case of COVID-19 has been identified in the Haut-Katanga province.
For our people on site, a strict health and hygiene protocol is being implemented by our medical team. All people entering their offices or work sites have their temperatures checked, and people with high temperatures are directed to the on-site health clinic. We have also set up a self-isolation area for people who visit the site to deliver supplies, with restricted access to the rest of site during their time at the operation to prevent contact with other people.
Due to the Peruvian Government’s mandatory self-isolation measures and strict nation-wide curfew, a large number of our employees have been on site for a significant period of time. We have been working with the Government to find a way to coordinate a change of shift to ensure the ongoing safe management of essential activities on site, and return our people safely to their homes. On Wednesday 15 April, we were permitted to return a number of people to their homes, and remain in coordination with the Government about when we can bring a new roster of people to site to relieve those remaining to carry out minimum critical operations.
As soon as COVID-19 rapid test kits are available, Las Bambas will begin transporting people required for the essential operation of the site. Before they begin their journey, every person will be submitted to rigorous health testing, including COVID-19 rapid tests, temperature checks, health questionnaires and mandatory use of masks. These health checks will continue on site to ensure any potential case is identified early and the person in question isolated from others.
Our Rosebery operation continues to operate normally, with significant self-distancing measures in place. On-site SHEC team is undertaking Government-issued COVID-19 training to ensure adequate sanitation and cleaning controls are being implemented, and additional education campaigns and accompanying signage has been installed across the site.
We are monitoring the recent COVID-19 outbreak in north-west Tasmania, and have implemented additional controls to ensure anyone who may have come in contact with a case of COVID-19, or someone who visited or works at one of the hospitals at the centre of the outbreak, does not return to site until they wait out a 14-day self-isolation period.
The state of Tasmania has implemented a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all people returning from interstate. All MMG people who fall into this category are being identified and monitored to ensure their compliance.
To date there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst employees or contractors of MMG. This is good news and we are doing everything we can to ensure we keep it that way.
We continue to monitor the advice from governments across our operating jurisdictions and will assess and communicate any changes to the current arrangements in due course.
- Our Kinsevere employees practice social distancing when greeting each other at site.
- At Rosebery mine prestart meetings are held separately in smaller groups and in a safe distance from each other.