Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) has commenced implementing a Mass Testing Program within its operations to curb further transmission of COVID-19 and ensure a safe resumption of its operations.
The Company began implementing the program after suspending its mining operations on Friday 19th March for 14 days following a surge in COVID-19 cases on the mine site and in Papua New Guinea.
So far, OTML has been successful in rolling out the testing program which has seen over 4,000 test samples collected from its employees, contractors, business partners and families. These samples are being sent to Australia for testing with regular updates provided to the National Control Centre in Port Moresby.
OTML’s contact tracing and isolation protocols have also been fully observed with people who receive a positive result being taken care of and supported throughout the isolation and quarantine process.
OTML Health Manager Dr. Charlie Turharus said the mass testing program has helped his medical team which consists of doctors and health care professionals from the OTML-funded Tabubil Hospital, to expeditiously test and isolate COVID-19 cases.
“Fortunately, almost all the cases we have recorded are asymptomatic or only showing mild to moderate symptoms,” he said.
OTML’s Mass Testing program has covered almost all the mine’s work areas including Kiunga and Bige where the company operates its wharf and dredging operations respectively. Personnel working in Port Moresby and at its regional exploration sites have also been tested.
“Our priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of all our personnel, and we will ensure that this mass testing program is implemented successfully so that we contain the spread of the virus and resume safe productions,” Dr. Turharus said.
The testing program is on schedule to allow for the recommencement of operations at the completion of the shutdown period.