Ok Tedi suspends mine amid COVID-19 outbreak

Ok Tedi Mining has temporarily shut its copper-gold operations in Papua New Guinea following the country’s surge in COVID-19 cases and the ban on fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) travel between Australia.

The operations ban was introduced on March 19 and will continue through a two-week period.

The company is also reviewing options for its employees who reside in Australia following the travel ban.

Ok Tedi stated it did not anticipate significant disruption to its operations as a result of the Australian Government’s announcement.

“… However, we are looking at alternative ways to repatriate several of our expatriate employees during the suspension of operations,” Ok Tedi stated.

Prior to the ban, Ok Tedi had suspended international charter flights due to positive COVID-19 cases from international travellers in Queensland’s hotel quarantine.

Ok Tedi stated its suspension was in line with the PNG Government’s National Isolation Strategy, which has started today.

Some employees will maintain essential services during the suspensions or for care and maintenance of the company’s PNG assets.

The company expects to lose $PGK210 million ($77 million) in revenue during the suspension.

The decision was made to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of Ok Tedi’s workforce, families, contractors and surrounding communities.

OK Tedi will commence a planned return to normal operations upon reviewing the effectiveness of the control measures and containment of the virus.

Assistance for the PNG Government’s vaccine roll-out and procurement has also been offered by the company.

Ok Tedi operates the Ok Tedi (Mt Fubilan) copper-gold-silver mine in PNG.

The company employs over 1800 people and produced 4.83 million ounces of copper, 14.8 million ounces of gold and 32.7 million ounces of silver from 1984 to 2018.

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