Newcrest combats mental health with Thinking Well program

The Red Chris mine in Canada. Image: Newcrest Mining

Newcrest Mining has introduced a program called Thinking Well to address mental health and the challenges COVID-19’s had on its employees.

This follows company health and hygiene reviews that were aimed to identify risks to people, including mental health illness, musculoskeletal disorders and acid mist.

Mental health is part of the company’s three pillars of health, hygiene and wellness framework.

During the 2020 financial year, the company also implemented exposure reduction plans for silica, diesel particulates and noise, while launching a better management of fatigue risks.

At the Red Chris gold mine in Canada, Newcrest significantly reduced the cases of injuries since taking over management.

The company immediately began a safety transformation at the mine after acquiring a 70 per cent interest of Red Chris in August last year, according to Newcrest chairman Peter Hay in the company’s annual report 2020.

Newcrest delivered a 13 per cent improvement in its total recordable injury frequency rate, totalling two per million hours worked in the 2020 fiscal year, on the prior period.

This went up to 2.6 per million hours worked when Red Chris was included, indicating the operation had a higher average injury rate than Newcrest’s other operations.

“Newcrest’s safety transformation plan continues to yield benefits with another twelve-month period free of fatalities or life-changing injuries and a continued improvement in injury rates,” Hay said.

Newcrest managing director Sandeep Biswas added: “(The figures above) are industry-leading low levels of injury and we remain focussed on achieving further reductions in injury rates.”

The Red Chris mine is one of Newcrest’s two potentially world-class exploration projects aside from the Havieron gold-copper project in Western Australia.