PNG's OK Tedi Mine to continue despite COVID-19 case in the province

OPERATIONS at Ok Tedi copper/gold mine in Western Province in Papua New Guinea  will continue as long as it is safe and economical to do so, according to a mine executive.
Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) managing director and chief executive Peter Graham made the remarks after the Government announced on Thursday that it had five new Covid-19 cases, of which three were from border villages adjacent to the mine’s Bige dredging project.

Graham said none of the three cases were employees or contractors of OTML.
“Ok Tedi operations will continue while we can do so safely, including at Bige and Kiunga where lockdown restrictions are being applied to the general public for a period to be determined,” he said.
“Contact tracing and additional testing in the local villages will inform this decision.”
OTML understands that a team from the Department of Health is on the ground to do assessments and conduct contact tracing.
Graham said the company’s main priority at the moment was the health and safety of its employees, contractors and communities.
“Our highest priority is to do everything we practically can to keep the virus out of our work areas and communities,” he said.
“Maintaining safe operations at Ok Tedi is important for us and for the national economy.”
Graham said OTML had been implementing stringent control measures since February to prevent the virus entering its operational areas.
These measures included cancelling all bookings for international and domestic travellers scheduled to return to Tabubil, screening everyone entering Tabubil and Bige and Kiunga operation sites.

The National/Pacific Mining Watch

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