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The Ok Tedi Mine in the Western Province has commenced operations last Thursday, April 01st, 2021.
This was after the operator Ok Tedi Mining Limited suspended operations temporarily due to surge in Covid-19 cases detected at the mine site.
Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Kedi Ilimbit in announcing the resumption of operations said the start-up of operations will be gradual and ramp-up to full production is expected to take up to two weeks.
Ilimbit said the temporary suspension of operations had allowed the Company to repatriate personnel who were not required onsite, restrict the movement of people and conduct a mass testing exercise which saw over 10,000 swab samples being collected from the workforce and town residents and sent to accredited laboratories in Australia and PNG for analysis.
Most of the positive cases that were recorded from these tests were asymptomatic and have recovered or have been medically cleared as per the National Department of Health and the World Health Organisation’s Testing and Isolation protocols.
“The safety, health and wellbeing of our workforce, our communities, business partners and support service personnel continues to be our number one priority. The testing conducted during the temporary suspension of operations has been critical in ensuring a successful restart as scheduled,” Ilimbit said.
“Hence, our immediate focus now is to safely resume operations and ensure we effectively manage our Covid-19 control measures. Our Medical team, including all personnel who assisted with the mass testing, did a tremendous effort, which has enabled us to contain the spread of the virus and provide the necessary care to those who tested positive to Covid-19.” he said.
Despite the temporary suspension of operations, the company is forecasting a solid profit outlook for the year.