Our response efforts to COVID-19 – our communities

Written by MMG Limited     April 22 2020 at 3:48 PM

At MMG, safety is our first value and now more than ever, we are working to ensure that all our people and communities are safe and well.

MMG operates in Australia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Peru. Since late January, we have been working hard to implement additional health and hygiene measures for our people and have been working closely with the governments in the countries in which we operate to support their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Remoteness of some of our operations has provided an advantage in avoiding the initial impacts of the pandemic as well as time to prepare for a potential outbreak. To date, none of the communities near our operations have been impacted by COVID-19.

We have implemented a proactive and MMG-wide response to manage the potential impact of COVID-19 on communities. All sites began implementing a series of initiatives, including:

  • Regular contact with local leaders, organisations and health institutions to identify needs in the community and ways the operation could support
  • Coordinated communication campaigns about the spread and prevention of COVID-19, using host country national government guidelines as a basis for developing the communication
  • Support to implement signage about social distancing requirements
  • Sourcing hygiene products and personal protective equipment (PPE) for local health directorates, as well as supporting additional training and knowledge shares between government health personnel and our site teams
  • Provision of essential supplies.


Communication with communities


Effective communication and education strategies are key to ensuring we are able to limit the impacts of COVID-19, both at our operations and in our host communities.

At Las Bambas, our community radio station Radio Surphuy has taken an active role in supporting communication throughout the province of Cotabambas. The team provides regular updates regarding measures taken by the Peruvian Government, interviews with local and regional authorities and health personnel, call-in sessions with questions about the current situation and as well as proactive advice hygiene and social distancing. Broadcasts are delivered both in Quechua, the local indigenous language, as well as Spanish. The station has also been named as the official broadcaster of the “Aprendo en Casa” (I learn at home), an educational initiative for students launched by the Ministry of Education through television, radio and internet. Information is also being provided through Las Bambas and Radio Surphuy’s website and social media pages, including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

At our Rosebery operation, we have been airing announcements on local radio 7XS every hour about what the workforce and the community can do to stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kinsevere has been working closely with local leaders and health authorities on a communication campaign for its host communities. This includes posters, banners and leaflets that will be distributed throughout the region, verbal communication on the importance of self-isolation and the manner in which coronavirus is spread over megaphones and loudspeakers in public places. This is supported by additional signage and physical markers for social-distancing requirements.

At Dugald River, we have been working with local and state government as well as the Queensland Resources Council to promote communication regarding COVID-19. We have also promoted social distancing through MMG’s social media channels.


Support for local health directorates


We are working in close coordination with local health authorities at all operations and are implementing initiatives to support government efforts. This has included providing additional funding and support for local and regional health directorates, including sourcing critical PPE, training and coordinating with the national government on their behalf.

At Las Bambas, we have been working with the regional governments to ensure they have adequate equipment and have donated hundreds of masks for the use of the medical professionals. We have also repurposed a dust control unit to disinfect the streets and populated areas around Las Bambas and the Southern Road Corridor to the community of Conguya. To date we have disinfected eight communities and more than 17 kilometres of road.

Our Kinsevere operation is located in the Kipushi territory, which falls under the authority of the Administrator of Territory of Kipushi (ATK). Our team is coordinating with ATK and Haut Katanga provincial government representatives, as well as local health posts, to evaluate the resources needed, should there be an outbreak.  We are supplying additional PPE as well as tents and other infrastructure they might need repurposed in case of isolation requirements. With the support of our highly trained medical staff, we will also be holding education courses for all local health employees and local leaders about COVID-19, personal hygiene and the DRC Government’s self-isolation requirements.


Direct support to communities


All our operations continue to implement their existing social investment and community engagement plans; however, we have implemented social distancing requirements in all of our interactions. Meetings with communities are now done over the phone, and where this is not possible, in open spaces with few participants to ensure social distancing. We have moved to postpone assembly meetings or other large events and ensuring that existing projects involving large numbers of people are adjusted to suit the new health and hygiene measures.

In addition to each operation’s social investment plans for 2020, our Las Bambas and Kinsevere operations have responded to community needs and are supporting additional requests where required.

Las Bambas is in the process of delivering food and basic necessity packages to almost 6,000 families in the communities of Cotabambas and Grau provinces in the region of Apurimac, and the provinces of Cusco, Paruro, Chumbivilcas and Espinar in the region of Cusco. The site is working directly with CARITAS Peru to ensure the packages are being delivered directly to all families in a safe manner.

At Kinsevere, we have identified the opportunity to implement more than 110 wash stations and hand washing kits throughout the region. The team is providing the necessary materials to local welders in the villages to make the kits, and the kits will be installed alongside posters and signs to educate people how to use them.