A surge in cases of COVID-19 at its mine site and in Papua New Guinea as a whole has led Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) to suspend operations for a 14-day period.

oktedi mineThe country and Australia have also banned fly-in, fly-out travel, further underscoring its decision.

The idle began on March 19, with OTML calling it necessary to protect its people, its communities and its operations from coronavirus.

“The decision to suspend operations signifies OTML’s commitment to take all reasonably practical measures to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of its employees, families, contractors and host communities and to enable the resumption of operations in a safe, economical and timely manner for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the company said.

“Key measures the company will be implementing during the suspension include repatriating non-essential personnel to their home provinces and implementing a mass testing program within its workforce.”

OTML said it will keep a skeleton crew on-site during the suspension to oversee care and maintenance. Officials have estimated a loss in revenue during the suspension to be about PGK210 million.

The miner is also looking at its options during the Australian government’s similar ban of FIFO travel during this time.

“We do not anticipate significant disruption to our operations as a result of the Australian government’s announcement; however, we are looking at alternative ways to repatriate several of our expatriate employees during the suspension of operations,” OTML said.

Source: OK Tedi Mining Ltd

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