Geopacific repatriates staff from Woodlark Island

Geopacific Resources has repatriated all Australian staff from the Woodlark Island gold mine for coronavirus-related health and safety concerns.

Located on an island in the Milne Bay province of Papua New Guinea, the Woodlark Island project employs both local labor and Australian staff members.

Geopacific managing director, Ron Heeks, said his company had taken strict measures to ensure that coronavirus was not introduced to the Woodlark Island community.

“The health and well-being of Geopacific’s employees, contractors and the broader communities in which we operate are of paramount importance to the board and senior management team,” Heeks said.

“The company will continue to monitor the evolving impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on the business and respond accordingly.”

Geopacific also issued a notice of suspension to contractor HBS Machinery, which was meant to undertake civil works program at the project.

However, Rhodes Project, the contractor engaged to assist with the village relocation will remain on site and continue its work with support from local Woodlark Island labour.

Geopacific started construction works on the Woodlark Island project in December last year, following a $40 million capital raising by the company.

The mine has an estimated gold capacity of over one million ounces and is located in the vicinity of two other major mines: the Lihir (Newcrest Mining) and Simberi (St Barbara) operations.

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