Ok Tedi Mining has aimed to achieve herd immunity through its testing and vaccination program to ensure staff, contractors, Tabubil town residents and the local community in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are protected from COVID-19.
As of July 20, 2733 staff and contractors have received the vaccine, with 301 fully vaccinated after receiving their second jab.
This represents 23 per cent of the workforce receiving at least one dose.
PNG recently recorded its first Delta variant positive case, leading Ok Tedi management to review its management response plan to manage an outbreak of the Delta variant at its operational sites.
With a steady vaccination uptake, Ok Tedi aims to achieve herd immunity before the end of the year to enable the operation and people’s lives to return to some form of normality.
Ok Tedi managing director and chief executive officer Musje Werror said the company is doing all it can in line with its duty of care culture to protect the workforce, residents and the communities,
“We encourage everyone to also show their personal duty of care and come forward to get tested and vaccinated through our random testing and vaccination roll-out programs,” he said.
“We have an on-going vaccine awareness program led by the Tabubil Hospital team and the communications and public relations department which is contributing to the increase in testing and vaccination numbers at Ok Tedi, and I commend the team for their efforts.”
Werror said there is still a lot of hesitancy in the workforce, however with the support from the company and contractor leaders, the vaccination message is getting through.
The immediate target is to use the remaining vials on site before they expire on July 29.
The vaccination roll-out program commenced on May 21, 2021 and is conducted at all Ok Tedi operations sites including Tabubil, Kiunga, Bige, and Port Moresby.
Since July 5, vaccinations have occurred daily from Monday to Saturday at Bige, Kiunga, Tabubil, and from Monday to Friday at the Folomian Mine/Mill clinic.
A random testing program is also in place and progressing well.
According to a company statement, the random testing program is critical to detect any change in the presence of the virus while ensuring appropriate actions are taken by Ok Tedi to address the results and its implications.
Ok Tedi employs 1800 people and produced 4.83 million ounces of copper, 14.8 million ounces of gold and 32.7 million ounces of silver from 1984 to 2018.
Ok Tedi’s workers can voluntarily decide to be vaccinated.