Fortescue clear of outbreak at Cloudbreak


The Cloudbreak ore processing facility. Image: Fortescue

Fortescue Metals Group has been cleared of any COVID-19 cases after a positive test scare shut down its Cloudbreak mine site in Western Australia this week.

The contractor returned a weak positive COVID-19 test this week, after being on site from July 20 to July 27.

But subsequent tests have found the employee to be negative, while rapid testing around the site found no other positive cases.

By midday on August 5, more than 1200 PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 850 antigen tests had been administered across Fortescue’s operations.

Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the company fulfilled its expectations to value the safety of others.

“The safety of all our team members, their families and our local communities is our highest priority. We have robust COVID-19 management protocols in place and are taking every precaution to ensure COVID-19 does not impact our operations,” Gaines said.

“Our Incident Management Team has worked effectively to assist with contact tracing efforts and our decision to invest in rapid antigen testing has allowed us to immediately test our team members.”

The Cloudbreak iron ore site is now back online and the temporary shut down had negligible impacts on production or shipments.

Gaines took to the opportunity to emphasise the need for workforces to get vaccinated against the virus.

“We believe that vaccination is the key to protecting our workforce and have encouraged all our team members to receive a vaccine in line with current directions from the federal government,” Gaines said.

“I sincerely thank the entire Fortescue team for their ongoing commitment at this time, which has ensured that there has been no impact to our operational performance despite the need to test large numbers of people.

“The support our teammates are providing to each other at this time is a true demonstration of our values in action.”

Fortescue shipped 49.3 million tonnes (Mt) of ore over the June quarter, pushing financial year ore shipments past its 182Mt target for 182.2Mt.

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