Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) in a statement says it plans to restart its operations in the week commencing the 14th of September 2020.
This is almost six weeks after it suspended operations on August 5th due to a number of COVID-19 cases that were reported in the Mining Township.
The Company made this announcement yesterday after it initiated a contact tracing, testing and an isolation program at the mine site.
The suspension of operations has seen Ok Tedi losing USD20 million (K70.6 million) in revenue per week, directly affecting foreign currency inflows into the country.
The company has also been adversely affected as it continues to incur what it calls a ‘significant amount’ of its normal operating costs resulting in a loss of approximately USD10 million (K35.3 million) per week.
According to the statement, over 3,000 samples have been collected to date with 143 positive COVID-19 cases identified in Tabubil.
OTML continues to implement its COVID-19 measures with employees and contractors who tested positive have been isolated in controlled accommodation facilities and are all asymptomatic. Eighteen of these cases have since recovered.
OTML Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Musje Werror said: “The testing program has provided us critical information and after careful assessment we are now better informed to restart operations without compromising the health and safety of our employees, contractors and communities.”
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant challenges to the business but has also presented opportunities for OTML to review and change the way it operates.
A major change necessary to commence operations is a change to the employee roster panels to accommodate 14 days isolation at designated Entry Point Centres.
Returning employees and contractors are required to have a negative test result before they can travel to site and commence work.
“We are establishing Entry Point Centres or isolation facilities in Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo, Mt Hagen, Kiunga, Tabubil and Cairns as well as at our dredging site in Bige to screen and test all our employees and contractors before they return to work.” Mr Werror said.