Rio Tinto on guard against COVID-19 resurgence

Rio Tinto autonomous haulage trucks at West Angelas mine site in WA. Credits: Christian Sprogoe Photography

Rio Tinto has declared a second consecutive year of zero fatalities in 2020, despite the changing conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mining major has delivered an increase of more than 10 per cent in its all injury frequency rate (AIFR) for 2020 compared with the prior corresponding period (0.42).

However, it acknowledged that uncertainty continues to exist around local situations, border access and movement of people and goods.

Rio Tinto plans to maintain its use of critical controls that protected its employees and local communities with the resurgence of COVID-19 in the United States, Canada, South Africa and Mongolia.

In the eastern states of Australia, Rio Tinto is closely monitoring state border closures while using site access and travel management controls.

Rio Tinto chief executive Jakob Stausholm said the company had delivered a strong safety and operational performance in the face of the significant global challenges of COVID-19.

“Safe and well-run operations, together with world-class assets and a strong balance sheet, leave Rio Tinto well placed to … invest in sustaining and growing our portfolio, while continuing to pay taxes and royalties in our host communities and make a broader contribution to society, including employment and procurement,” he said.

Rio Tinto stated that it would adjust production levels and product mix to meet customer requirements in line with its value over volume strategy and COVID-19 related restrictions.

The company aims to ship 325 to 340 million tonnes of iron ore this year, subject to weather and market conditions.

Yancoal has also experienced minimal disruption to its operations, with company chief executive David Moult stating that its 12-month rolling total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) increased slightly from 7.2 in the third quarter of last year to 7.4 by the year-end.

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