1 July 2020 update
We are taking the necessary precautions to minimise and prevent the spread of COVID-19 for the wellbeing of our global team, operations and the communities where we work and live.
To date we have had two confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the company at our Haile Gold Mine in South Carolina, USA. The operation responded immediately in line with company and regulatory protocols and there was no impact to operations at the mine.
We have been very fortunate across the company to operate for this long without a positive case. We remain vigilant in our hygiene and physical distancing protocols to ensure our operations are always a safe place to work.
In alignment with our commitment to be a responsible employer and partner, we subscribe to the advice of the World Health Organisation and the Governments and regulatory agencies of each country we work in. Our focus is prevention, preparedness, response and recovery for all our workplace and community activities.
Our response measures fall into three key areas:
- Minimise the risk of employee exposure
- Well informed workforce that can self-manage to reduce exposure risks to themselves and their families
- Development of specific and stringent operational continuity plans that reflect the local reality in each jurisdiction.
Management for the potential impact of COVID-19 requires a fluid and adaptable approach that reflects the local reality. We are in regular communication with the regulatory agencies in each operational jurisdiction and are consistently reviewing industry best practice to assess opportunities to reduce our exposure to the virus.
OceanaGold’s corporate offices
Corporate office-based employees who are able to work remotely continue to do so in line with government requirements. In some cases where jurisdictional restrictions are easing we have made temporary hygiene and physical distancing practices more permanent to ensure a safe working environment for employees to return to.
Across the Company we’ve suspended all international travel and any non-essential domestic travel. We are observing government advice about the size of gatherings and modifying our meetings and events and event attendance accordingly. All our programs of work continue.
Across our operational locations there are varying risks and responses associated with COVID-19. Each operational management team has developed a Trigger Action Response Plan (TARP) that includes more detailed response planning, including the key pandemic risks for that location, its potential impacts and our response for operations, resources, reputation and financial health.
Waihi and Macraes Operations and the Reefton Restoration Project in New Zealand
New Zealand has a four-level alert system with a focus on reducing the risk of community transmission.
On Monday 8 June, the country transitioned from alert level two, where businesses could operate if social distancing and contact tracing records are in place, to alert level one, where the disease is considered to be contained within the country.
There are no domestic travel, gathering or event size restrictions within New Zealand. However, employees are required to stay at home if they are unwell.
At the Waihi Operation in the North Island of New Zealand the workforce has returned to site and resumed all Martha Underground development and regional exploration activities.
At the Macraes Operation in the South Island of New Zealand the full workforce has transitioned back to the operation and continue mining and processing at full capacity.
The Reefton Restoration Project in the South Island of New Zealand recommenced closure and rehabilitation activity, including stockpile re-shaping and wetland development and all employees and contractors are back on site.
For official advice around the management of COVID-19 in New Zealand, visit the New Zealand Ministry of Health website.
Didipio Mine, Philippines
Operations at Didipio were temporarily suspended in October 2019 and remain suspended.
In response to the pandemic the Philippine National Government declared a state of calamity and ordered enhanced community quarantine (lockdown) for Luzon Island, including Metro Manila. In other regions, including Region Two where our Didipio Mine is located, the alert level has been downgraded to General Community Quarantine.
We are operating under the General Community Quarantine requirements. These strict health protocols and standards include physical distancing, wearing facemasks, a daily health symptom check, checking of workers’ temperature and a disinfection process for all goods and vehicles entering the site.
To support and maintain the Didipio Mine we are maintaining a workforce of essential personnel only, with adjusted work cycles to offset employees who live in areas that are still under Enhanced Community Quarantine. Employees returning to work from other provinces are required to stay inside the mine compound to avoid any potential for community transmission.
Interim managerial appointments are still in place and operational readiness, environmental safeguards, emergency medical support and community relief support continues. Hygiene practices and social distancing precautions are being strictly observed. Our occupational health team is supporting our employees at the operation and within the host community.
As an enhanced precautionary measure, employees returning to work require medical certification that they are fit, have not been confined on medical grounds and have not travelled or been exposed to areas with COVID-19 cases. Any employees returning to the operation from areas still under Enhanced Community Quarantine are also self-isolating for 14 days as a precaution.
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the operation.
For official advice around the management of COVID-19 in the Philippines, visit the Philippines Department of Health website.
Haile Gold Mine, USA
In response to the pandemic, the State of South Carolina has been under Executive Orders declaring a State of Emergency since Friday 13 March. Since easing restrictions on Monday 4 May, the State has continued to see a daily increase in the number of positive test cases.
The Haile Gold Mine, located in Kershaw County, South Carolina, has operated without interruption as an essential business, adhering to strict protocols and controls under the State Guidelines.
The mine is currently operating at full capacity. Since the commencement of the pandemic the mine has managed two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among our team of employees and contractors and several cases of employees in mandatory isolation due to community contact with presumptive or positive cases.
As at all our operations, the safety and wellness of our employees is a priority, particularly as we navigate this rapidly evolving and uncertain territory. All employees and contractors entering site undergo a temperature check and visual screening and non-essential visitors to site continue to be temporarily restricted.
Social distancing is strictly observed and when not possible masks/facial covering are utilised. All equipment and facilities are regularly cleaned and disinfected during and between shifts. Meetings are held virtually when possible and the preferred communication methods for personal communication are email, phone and virtual meeting platforms.
Management continually reviews employee expectations and operational procedures to maintain a safe and COVID-19-free environment, while ensuring operational and business continuity.
For official advice around the management of COVID-19 in the United States of America, visit the USA Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website. For official advice around the management of COVID-19 in South Carolina, visit the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control website.
The health, safety and wellbeing of our workforce is our priority.
We understand there is a lot of uncertainty and there is no way to predict how long our company will be impacted. Across the company our People and Culture department is working with management teams to support employees through this period. We swiftly made adjustments to working from home, are accessing Government programs where available, facilitated online learning opportunities and have deployed various mediums to regularly communicate with them.
We are mindful of their current living standards and the potential household impact and downstream economic impact by employees in their local communities and are doing what is necessary to ensure full pay is available. At the same time, our goal is to ensure we have a full workforce compliment to assume business as usual in the shortest possible time and using some of the down time for employees to work on recovery and simplification plans.
We continue to monitor impacts to employees and their personal wellbeing and navigate the challenges confronted by government-mandated workplace suspensions.
Working with our business partners
Across the company we’re working with our business partners, including contractors, suppliers, banks and customers to keep them up to date with our planning and operational status, including the precautions we’re implementing across our sites.
We’re also asking our business partners to ensure their contingency plans are in place to manage their employees and work with their OceanaGold contractor representative to implement the standard practices to protect worker health.
As part of our business continuity planning operations have looked at their supply chain and pre-ordered the consumables required to secure our supply for the at least the next three to four months.
Our production and supply of product to our customers has not been impacted at this time.
Any business partners who would like more information can reach out to their primary business contact for more information at any time.