Newcrest stays operative, sets up covid-19 fund

Lihir mine site in Papua New Guinea. (Image courtesy of Newcrest Mining).

Australia’s largest gold producer, Newcrest Mining (ASX: NCM), has announced that despite the covid-19 pandemic, all of its mines continue to operate and there are no changes to its guidance for FY20, which has been set at 2,100 – 2,200koz.

Although it is staying operative, the Melbourne-based miner is not turning the blind eye to the threats posed by the novel coronavirus outbreak. Thus, it also announced that it has established an A$20-million community support fund to provide financial help to its host communities to assist them with the challenges associated with the pandemic.

A portion of Newcrest’s community support fund will go towards vaccine research

In a press release, the company’s managing director and CEO, Sandeep Biswas, said that the fund will initially focus on increasing the availability of medical care and equipment to cope with the pandemic, as well as assisting in the provision of other essential goods and services.

According to Biswas, half of the money will be dedicated to assisting Papua New Guinea’s preparations for and management of covid-19. In the Oceanian country, Newcrest owns the Lihir gold mine, which employs approximately 4,500 people, and has a 50% stake in the $5.4-billion Wafi-Golpu gold-copper project.

“Many members of the senior leadership team have been residential on island for several years. Prior to the cessation of international and domestic flights, Lihir was able to attract a number of key personnel to site for the operations and planned maintenance cycles to continue in the near to medium term,” the media brief states. “At this point in time, the ports remain open to allow the receipt of key supplies and doré continues to be able to be transported to the Perth Mint.”

Even though no covid-19 cases have been registered at its operations or projects, Newcrest said that in PNG and in other locations, such as the Cadia and Telfer gold-copper mines in Australia and the Red Chris gold-copper project in Canada, the company has implemented special measures to reduce the risk of transmission. 

“These measures are aimed at keeping local communities informed, limiting community gatherings and reducing travel between villages and islands,” the media brief states. “Newcrest moved early to restrict international travel and introduce health screening and social distancing procedures at sites. Controls have continued to develop in response to the pandemic.”

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