McGowan would back mandatory vaccinations for miners

McGowan would back mandatory vaccinations for miners

Mine Risk Management > Covid-19

McGowan said mining camps were considered high-risk for the spread of COVID-19, as evidenced by the outbreak at Newmont Corporation’s Tanami operations in the Northern Territory, which today grew to 10 cases.

"The mining industry should take responsibility – and there’s no criticism from me, they’ve been fantastic … but the mining industry should get vaccinated as soon as possible," he told reporters.

McGowan said mining companies would likely be willing to take on the task of vaccinating their own workers if they could get their hands on vaccine.

Yesterday, National Cabinet announced the COVID-19 vaccine would become mandatory for healthcare workers and McGowan said he’d be supportive of similar measures for the mining sector.

"Difficult times require difficult measures to be put in place," he said.

"If mining companies indicate that’s what they need to do to keep their workforce safe, I’d support that."

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said industry was being asked to enable those workers who were booked to receive their second vaccination shot this week to return to Perth, even if they were unable to be replaced on site.

"This is to ensure that they are fully and effectively vaccinated," AMEC said.

After earlier confusion , AMEC said new definitions provided in formal lockdown directions released this morning had created clarity around limitations on the restricted movement of fly-in, fly-out workers except for ‘critical maintenance and to avoid significant losses’.

"Essentially, we are being asked and required not to travel during the four-day lockdown," AMEC said."This intention and formal direction relates to any activity of the mining industry, whether it is operations, construction, project development, or exploration."Wednesday flights to Fortescue Metals Group’s Christmas Creek, Solomon, Cloudbreak and Eliwana mines and Iron Bridge project have been cancelled, as well as to Northern Star Resources’ Carosue Dam, BHP’s Coodewanna and Barimunya airports, and AngloGold Ashanti and Regis Resources’ Tropicana, Newman, Ravensthorpe and Port Hedland."AMEC is advised that WA Police will work with industry to ensure we are able to switch out rosters at the end of the lockdown period."WA health minister Roger Cook said three miners who were among 177 workers from Tanami to fly into WA were unaccounted for and had been referred to police.Cook said given close contacts of positive cases had returned negative tests, the failure to locate the three at this stage was "not overly concerning".WA today reinstated the hard border with Queensland […]

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