Based on the prevailing weather pattern, operations may have to be suspended in the next week or so leaving a skeleton crew covering care, maintenance and security and work on priority projects. Rainfall in critical catchment areas over the past month has been well below historic average levels and the river is again approaching the non-trafficable level. Hydro power generation is also dropping steadily.
Plans to relieve pressure on critical supplies are well advanced. Non-essential personnel and families are being progressively repatriated in order to extend supplies of food and fuel and level demand for flights once it becomes necessary to suspend operations.
While operations are suspended, and in order to retain the workforce and allow for an efficient restart of operations, OTML personnel will be paid a retainer, representing a significant forward commitment of cash reserves should the suspension last for an extended period.
Government schools in Tabubil remain open for children from local mine villages to continue their education in Tabubil and to allow students in Grades 10 and 12 prepare for and complete their year-end exams. Students from OTML families who have been relocated from Tabubil are being assisted with enrolments elsewhere.
Discussions are progressing with community leaders and the Western Province Administration to prepare for the impacts of a potentially long dry period and the suspension of OTML operations. Essential services such as the hospital, clinics, supermarket and banks will continue to operate, but on a reduced basis.