ESG

Western Australia reopens to the world

WESTERN Australia has reopened its borders to the rest of Australia and the world.

Western Australia reopens to the world

The WA border had been closed for much of the past two years due to COVID-19.

From 12:01am local time today, vaccinated travellers are able to enter the state without quarantining.

A number of mining CEOs will be among the arrivals, with Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm understood to be arriving in Perth today.

"I'm very excited the borders are opening next Thursday - I'm going there myself," he told analysts last week.

Lynas Rare Earths CEO Amanda Lacaze will also be in WA this month to observe the progress on the company's A$500 million Kalgoorlie processing facility.

29Metals CEO Peter Albert and chief operating officer Ed Cooney will be in WA in the next couple of weeks to visit the Golden Grove operation for the first time since the company listed on the ASX in July.

As of yesterday, WA had just under 7000 active cases of COVID-19 and the peak of the Omicron wave is expected in the next 2-3 weeks.

Miners are bracing for increased cases of COVID and potential production disruptions.

While the larger companies will be better-placed to deal with expected absenteeism of up to 20%, most believe the impacts will be short-lived.

High commodity prices will also likely offset some of the impacts.

Many miners are hoping the easing of the border will provide some relief to WA's crippling labour shortages.

Stausholm warned it would be no "magic bullet".

"Slowly but surely I hope that we will work towards more normal conditions," he said.

"Many things have worked out very well in the Pilbara but it is very clear that we have specific skills-specialised shortages that we hope to address with the border reopening."

Monadelphous CEO Rob Velletri said last month that even with borders relaxing, labour shortages were expected to continue for some time.

"The escalation in COVID case numbers in WA, coupled with measures implemented to further - to limit further transmission will no doubt provide challenges for our industry and company," he said.

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