Ok Tedi subjects employees to COVID-19 testing

Image: Ok Tedi

All Ok Tedi operational employees are participating in a mass COVID-19 testing program amid a rising outbreak in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Ok Tedi has collected over 4000 test samples from its employees, contractors, business partners and families, which will analysed in Australia.

This includes samples taken from workers in the mine’s work areas such as Kiunga and Bige, where Ok Tedi operates its wharf and dredging operations, respectively.

Personnel working in Port Moresby and at regional exploration sites have also been tested.

The move follows a two-week suspension of Ok Tedi’s namesake copper-gold mine in PNG starting March 19, after five employees tested positive for the virus.

According to Ok Tedi health manager Charlie Turhaus, almost all the cases the company has recorded are asymptomatic or showing only mild to moderate symptoms.

“Our priority is the safety, health and wellbeing of all our personnel, and we will ensure that this mass testing program is implemented successfully so that we contain the spread of the virus and resume safe productions,” Turharus said.

Ok Tedi advised that the testing program was running on schedule to allow the restart of the mine operation at the end of its suspension period.

The suspension is hitting Ok Tedi with a revenue loss of $PGK210 million ($77 million).

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