OK Tedi Mine in PNG To resume Operations in September

OK Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) says it plans to restart operations in the week commencing September 14, 2020.

This would be almost six weeks after it suspended operations on August 5, 2020 due to a number of Covid-19 cases that were reported in Tabubil, Western Province.

The company made the announcement after it initiated a contact tracing, testing and isolation programme at the mine site.

To date over 3,000 samples have been collected with 143 positive Covid-19 cases identified in Tabubil.

Employees and contractors who have tested positive were isolated in controlled accommodation facilities and are all asymptomatic.

Eighteen of these cases recovered.

According to OTML, since the operation was suspended, the company had lost about US$20 million (K68.5mil) per week in revenue which had directly impacted foreign currency inflows into PNG.

While operations were suspended, OTML continued to incur a significant amount of its normal operating costs, and as a result losses approximating US$10 million (K34.25mil) per week which were being incurred during this time.

OTML managing director and chief executive Musje Werror said the testing programme had provided them critical information and after careful assessment the company was better informed to restart operations without compromising the health and safety of its employees, contractors and communities.

He added that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused challenges to the business but had also presented opportunities for OTML to review and change the way it operated.

A major change necessary to commence operations is a change to the employee roster panels to accommodate 14-day isolation at designated entry point centres.

Returning employees and contractors are required to have a negative test result before they can travel to site and commence work.

OTML is establishing entry point centres or isolation facilities in Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo, Mt Hagen, Kiunga, Tabubil and Cairns as well as at its dredging site in Bige, Western, to screen and test employees and contractors before they return to work.

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