Increasing COVID-19 cases in Western Australia have caused staffing problems for miners with Westgold Resources and Wiluna Mining both reporting operations impacted by quarantined workers.
Westgold stated in its December quarterly report that the growing impact of COVID-19 was affecting staff numbers and operating costs.
During the March quarter, the company has seen many of these factors intensify with an increase of positive COVID-19 cases within its workforce.
“There is a multiplier effect due to the necessary quarantine of non-positive close contacts and this requirement has significantly depleted shift attendance across some operating sites and has affected production,” the company stated.
Westgold chief executive officer Debbie Fullarton said COVID-19 cases continue to increase across Western Australia and the company is experiencing a similar trend across our operating sites.
“We however continue to proactively manage the situation as the health of our workforce and the communities we work within is paramount,” she said.
“All our mines remain operational, but production is expected to be affected this quarter due to availability of front-line operating staff.
“The Westgold workforce is resilient and though stretched, will continue to manage the ongoing challenges imposed directly or indirectly by COVID-19.”
As part of its report on the ramp up of its namesake gold mine, Wiluna Mining reported similar issues were hampering production.
“Ramp-up has also been impacted by manning issues within the underground mining team over the entire ramp-up period, and particularly in the past two weeks COVID which has restricted our mining team to approximately 70 per cent of its capacity,” Wiluna Mining stated.
“We expect these issues will continue to affect production for at least the next three months, and this will most likely delay declaration of commercial production which was expected to be the end of June 2022.
“We are now expecting that full commercial production will not be achieved until the second half of CY 2022.
“Production is expected to be approximately 11,000 ounces for the March quarter and approximately 4000 ounces per month for the next two months.”