Since the first seven COVID-19 positive cases were reported by Ok Tedi Mining Limited on 5th August 2020, the Company suspended normal operations and implemented a contact tracing, testing and isolation program at the mine site.
The first batch of 341 swab samples collected from the seven reported confirmed cases, other employees and community members were sent to Australia for PCR testing.
The results from the tests received by the Company yesterday showed 37 new positive COVID-19 cases, 298 tests were negative while 6 are pending results.
Commenting on these results, OTML Managing Director and CEO Musje Werror said: “The positive tests confirm our concerns that community transmission is occurring. Given we have now commenced a large scale testing program we there will be more positive results.
“The health and safety of our employees, families, contractors and communities is of paramount importance and we continue to implement our COVID-19 Management Response program to contain the spread of the virus as quickly as possible”.
The Company further indicated that of the 37 new cases, 21 are people living in the single camp accommodation while 16 are with their families in company-provided housing in Tabubil.
People recording a positive test result have been isolated and their close contacts have been quarantined and are currently being tested.
At this stage, none of the people who have tested positive are showing adverse symptoms however they will be closely monitored by the Tabubil Hospital medical team.
The Company is expecting results from a second batch of samples later today.
Meanwhile, operations at Ok Tedi remains suspended. A decision to resume operations is dependent on the results of the site wide testing program, which is expected to take about 14 days.