Aug 06, 2020

COVID-19 cases halt Ok Tedi mine operations

COVID-19 cases halt Ok Tedi mine operations

Papua New Guinea’s Ok Tedi copper and gold mine has suspended operations for at least 14 days after seven workers tested positive for COVID-19.

The Ok Tedi open-pit mine is located in PNG’s Western Province and counts a number of Australians among its workforce, with FIFO arrangements via Cairns.

Ok Tedi Mining managing director and chief executive officer Musje Werror said a decision to return to normal operations would be governed by the company’s duty of care to its workforce.

Operations would resume when Ok Tedi Mining was confident its workforce would not be infected with COVID-19 virus while going about their normal day to day work, he said.

“At this stage we are hopeful resumption of operations will occur at the conclusion of the 14-day lockdown and quarantine period,” Mr Werror said.

“However, we cannot be certain until results from further contact tracing are available.”

The suspension, which began on Wednesday, is expected to cut the mine’s copper output by about 4000 tonnes and gold production by about 12,000 ounces.

The source of transmission to the workers at Ok Tedi was a person who had travelled from the capital, Port Moresby, to the town of Kiunga, on a commercial flight on July 31, the company said.