Russia’s largest gold producer Polyus on Tuesday confirmed its output forecasts for this year and next following a major outbreak of coronavirus at its main Olimpiada mine in Siberia, which infected nearly a quarter of workers at the site.
Polyus started testing all its staff in the Siberian Krasnoyarsk region, where the mine is located, in April, and found 1,400 positive cases among its 6,000 employees and contractors.
The Russian army helped it to set up a mobile hospital to fight the outbreak in May.
Polyus confirmed its production forecast for this year and next on Tuesday. Earlier in June it said it did not rule out that labour shortages caused by the outbreak could impact 2021 production.
The Olimpiada mine, which accounts for about 49% of its overall output, kept on producing gold as usual during the outbreak, and most of coronavirus-positive employees were asymptomatic, the company has said.
“It was stated today that this epidemic at the enterprise has been completely eliminated,” Polyus chief executive Pavel Grachev told reporters in the city of Krasnoyarsk. Polyus sent the recording of his speech to other media.
The last sick employees are due to be discharged from the hospital this week, he said.
The company added that its total gold production was higher in January-May than in the same period a year ago, though it did not disclose the numbers.
Polyus, controlled by Said Kerimov, the son of Russian tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, plans to produce 2.8 million troy ounces of gold in 2020.
(By Anastasia Lyrchikova and Polina Devitt; Editing by Jan Harvey)