Fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers in Western Australia have been impacted by the state government’s decision to impose a snap five-day lockdown on three regions last night.
Although mining has been declared an essential industry, Premier Mark McGowan has asked FIFO workers currently in Perth to stay put until the lockdown ends at 6pm on Friday.
“FIFO workers in Perth (will) not be able to fly north to the Pilbara during the lockdown,” a spokesman for the Premier said.
“The government has asked companies to delay any shift changes and keep workers where they are for the next five days.”
The lockdown started at 6pm Sunday evening, after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive to the United Kingdom strain of the virus.
Mining employees on site will continue working under regular COVID-19 precautions, with Western Australian mining regions like the Pilbara, Goldfields, Kimberley and Mid West not falling within the lockdown zone.
However, Talison Lithium and Galan Lithium are two companies operating in the South West region at the Greenbushes and Greenbushes South lithium projects.
Western Australian gold miner Northern Star Resources commented on the lockdown, stating it did not expect any negative affects to its operations, including the Super Pit, Kanowna Belle, Jundee, East Kundana and South Kalgoorlie projects in the Goldfields region.
“Northern Star Resources does not expect production and exploration at its West Australian operations to be impacted by the five-day lockdown measures announced by Premier Mark McGowan,” the company stated.
“All the company’s operations are located outside the lockdown boundaries set by the government.”
Saracen Mineral Holdings, which operates the Super Pit alongside Northern Star also stated that it did not expect any interruptions to its Western Australian gold operations.
“Saracen’s top priority at all times is the health and safety of its staff, business partners and the communities in which we operate and this is the basis of all its strategies for managing COVID-19,” Saracen stated.
“The company will advise the market should these circumstances change.”
Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook said it is important that Western Australians act calmly and take sensible precautions during this lockdown period.
“We have acted decisively and swiftly given these circumstances,” Cook said.
“I want to thank everyone in advance for their patience. Expect disruption and delays; this is a highly unpredictable virus.
“Take care of your loved ones and be respectful of others, including those who are working to keep essential services and supplies ticking over.”