Miners prepare for border shutdowns

MOST Australian states will close their borders from lunchtime tomorrow to combat the spread of COVID-19, which has implications for the mining sector.
Miners prepare for border shutdowns Miners prepare for border shutdowns Miners prepare for border shutdowns Miners prepare for border shutdowns Miners prepare for border shutdowns
MiningNews.net is making some of its most important coverage of the
COVID-19 pandemic freely available to readers. For more coverage, please see our COVID-19 hub. To subscribe to MiningNews.net, click here.

Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory all announced new border control measures over the weekend in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

"These new border controls are all about reducing the spread of COVID-19 in WA," WA Premier Mark McGowan said yesterday.

"We have come to this decision after wide consultation, and to ensure the new border controls do not impact essential services, our fly-in, fly-out workforce and the delivery of goods and services to our state."

However, Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA chief executive Paul Everingham said all non-essential staff had been sent home and FIFO flights would be "massively curtailed".

"We're taking extraordinary measures to ensure our workforce and the communities in which we operate are not impacted," Everingham said.

"Now is not the time to think about profitability."

Everingham said critical operational and production teams will be the only ones allowed on site from interstate.

Under a draft framework seen by MNN, FIFO personnel will only be allowed to enter and depart on dedicated charter aircraft that leave from Australian capital cities and arriving at specific mine sites, oil and gas facilities and regional operations (including public regional airports), with transit through Perth via a dedicated FIFO terminal where necessary.

Workers will be monitored for potential symptoms, including temperature checks, and social distancing will be enforced on flights.

Alliance Aviation reported its core business of charter services to the resources sector was experiencing increased demand.

Fortescue Metals Group said the majority of its workforce resided in WA, but it would launch dedicated flights to the eastern states as required.

A member of its Perth-based workforce tested positive to COVID-19 over the weekend.

FMG said mining, processing and shipping was continuing as normal, in line with full-year guidance.

"Fortescue has been working closely with industry and government on the impact of travel restrictions on the resources sector," CEO Elizabeth Gaines said.

"We commend the WA state government on their decisive actions to contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

"The health and wellbeing of our whole team is our priority. We continue to safely deliver on our targets at this time of national need with mining, processing and shipments remaining in line with our guidance for FY20."

St Barbara said coronavirus had not impacted gold production or shipments in WA, Papua New Guinea or Canada.

The company has implemented additional health screening and has contacted its expatriate workforce to understand their circumstances in light of increased travel restrictions.

Nickel miner IGO said it was working on increased health screening and was boosting supplies of consumables and reagents in case of an interruption to supply.

The company said it was working to increase staffing levels for key roles to provide additional capacity.

Exploration is continuing in WA's Fraser Range, but has been suspended in the Kimberley and NT.

NT producer Energy Resources of Australia said its Ranger uranium plant was operating as normal, but it was still assessing what, if any, impacts the border closer may have on operations.

  • Top News: Vale Terry Grammer. Read more.
  • Top News: SolGold's relationship with BHP, Newcrest not 'soured'. Read more.
  • Top News: Nickel Mines becomes 'new force in global nickel'. Read more.