Newmont Corporation has released around 700 workers at the Tanami gold mine camp in the Northern Territory from quarantine following last month’s COVID-19 outbreak.
The workers quarantined from June 26 to July 10, after an infected man arrived at the fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) operation from a Brisbane hotel quarantine facility.
Newmont Australia regional senior vice president Alex Bates said the Northern Territory Government deserved praise for its aid.
“Our first concern is the welfare of our employees and business partners and their families, and I would like to thank the Northern Territory Government response team for their assistance in reacting very quickly to minimise any risks to people on site and the broader community,” Bates said.
“We have also had very helpful support from other states in responding to this incident and keeping our returning workers, their families and communities safe.”
Tanami is located in the Tanami desert and is 270 kilometres from the remote Aboriginal community of Yuendumu.
The 2.6-million-tonne-per-year gold mine was completely shut down while the workforce quarantined under strict protocols and regular testing.
Newmont stated it has a recovery plan in place and will safely return the operation to full production as it becomes safe to do so.
Bates said the past two weeks would serve to improve the company’s standards and acknowledged everyone’s efforts in getting through it.
“I would like to thank our employees and business partners for their patience and commitment during quarantine, which has been a difficult experience,” Bates said.
“We are completing a review of our processes and will share learnings with the broader industry to minimise future risks.”
Newmont is currently undertaking a mine expansion at Tanami which will see it become a 3.6-million-tonne-per-year operation, thanks to a $24 million shaft upgrade contract with ABB.
The expansion should see Newmont extend Tanami’s life beyond 2040.