Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM) (TSX: NCM) said that it is working closely with the Australian government following the suspension of travel exemptions which had allowed fly-in-fly-out mining and energy workers to travel to and from Papua New Guinea.
The Scott Morrison administration issued the new order this week, due to a steep rise in coronavirus infections in the South Pacific nation.
As of Thursday, PNG had 2,658 confirmed cases, 36 deaths and 179 new cases, based on data from the World Health Organization.
According to Newcrest, the outbreak is contained within its Lihir operation, where a small number of patients remain in quarantine and are being monitored by the company’s medical staff until they are free of the virus.
“Strict hygiene, social distancing and other covid-19 management protocols remain in place at Lihir with comprehensive testing, quarantine and precautionary contact tracing procedures enforced,” the Melbourne-based miner said in a media statement. “Lihir has a dedicated isolation camp and separate isolation and treatment facility where care and support can be provided.”
Approximately 4,500 people are employed at Lihir on a regular basis.
At the moment, however, Lihir is undergoing a planned maintenance shutdown but it is in the process of progressively starting up.
“There is currently no anticipated interruption to gold production arising as a result of the travel suspension,” Newcrest’s press brief reads.
In the second half of 2020, Lihir produced 378,000 ounces of gold. Newcrest is working on a new mine plan that allows it to reach 1 million ounces per year for 10-12 years, starting in 2023.