Anglo American has advised its Australian workforce of an intention to require full COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry to all its sites, offices and camps from March 1, 2022.
The major coal miner has operations across Queensland’s Bowen Basin including Capcoal, Dawson, Moranbah North, Grosvenor as well as several exploration and joint ventures projects.
These operations directly employed just over 3000 people in 2020, excluding contractors and those working in Anglo American offices.
The company will conduct a consultation period on its draft COVID-19 Vaccination Policy before locking in the mandate.
Anglo American chief executive officer for Australia Tyler Mitchelson said detailed risk assessments were undertaken in putting the draft together.
“In developing our draft COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, we have taken into account expert health advice as well as the comparably low rates of vaccination in the areas we operate in,” Mitchelson said.
“It’s very likely we will see COVID-19 cases increase throughout Queensland over coming months and we believe we have an obligation to help protect the more than 5500 people who work for us in Queensland, as well as our local communities.”
Consultation with the Anglo American workforce will be pivotal in getting the policy over the line, after BHP had a similar entry requirement at Mt Arthur coal mine overturned by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on the grounds the consultation process was not comprehensive enough.
Mitchelson said it was important for the workforce to become vaccinated as the Queensland community began to increase its movements next year.
“Vaccination is the best way to help keep our people and communities safe,” Mitchelson said
“Many of our workforce live in nearby local communities, but there are also people who commute to work from Mackay, Rockhampton and other regional centres as well as Southeast Queensland.
“We recognise that once COVID-19 cases do start to occur more frequently in Queensland, the risk of transmission due to people movements will be higher.”
Mitchelson recognised that vaccination is not an option for all employees and a case-by-case assessment would be set up for such people.
“We understand there are certain cases where people cannot get vaccinated, and we would work with these individuals to assess their individual circumstances under an exemption process within our draft Policy,” Mitchelson concluded.