Since the roll-out of vaccinations against the COVID-19 pandemic in Papua New Guinea, Mining and Petroleum companies have begun urging workers in the resource sector to get vaccinated.
Due to the enormous pressure to continue operating mines amidst the pandemic, mining companies have taken the approach to safeguard their employees and their families.
Speaking at a Community Affairs and Media Workshop set up by the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum in August 2021, Vice president of the PNG chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Richard Kassman, reminded workers of the resource sector of the need to continue their work amidst the pandemic.
“It’s not an ideal situation but many companies are working on their own protocols and processes in how to optimise and continue this ongoing work.”
In 2020, almost all major players in the resource sector recorded a massive drop in their expected revenue collection, while this has affected the level of output for individual companies; it has also affected the National Government’s revenue for the year 2021.
Seeing the high negative impacts of COVID-19 on the local economy, Prime Minister, James Marape said it is up to the private companies to decide if their employee should be vaccinated.
Mr Kassman urged those who haven’t been vaccinated to consider getting the jab in order to protect themselves, their families, co-workers and the communities they live in.
He described the individual locations of resource companies as being in isolated, sparsely populated communities and reiterated the importance of protecting those living in and around project areas.
“This is a massive responsibility that we as an industry and as individuals and companies, need to work hard on to ensure that we’re not responsible for bringing such a contagious and debilitating disease into the communities.”
He added that, taking the vaccine would contribute to working in a less restrained environment.
Meanwhile, mining companies like Ok Tedi Mining Limited, Barrick Niugini Limited and Simberi Gold Company Limited among others have released statements and images of their employees receiving the vaccine.
PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, the peak-body of the resource sector in PNG acknowledged and thanked those who have taken this important step in upholding safety standards of the industry.
Stating that those workers who have taken the vaccine know that COVID-19 Vaccines:
- Are the best defense against serious health complications should they contract the virus
- Are the best option to keep loved ones who are living with pre-existing conditions or comorbodities safe; and
- Are the most proactive way to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus in their immediate communities.