Mining at Rio Tinto’s Argyle deposit in Australia is proceeding as usual, despite a lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The company has received full approval from the Western Australian state government to continue its production operations prior to the mine’s expected end of life later this year, it told Rapaport News Monday.
Operations are also in full swing at Diavik, the Canadian site Rio Tinto owns together with Dominion Diamond Mines. Dominion’s Ekati mine, which is also located in the country’s Northwest Territories, suspended operations on March 19 due to concern about its remote location and the high frequency of air travel necessary for employees to reach it.
However, Rio Tinto has implemented safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it noted.
“Rio Tinto is closely monitoring the impacts of COVID-19, with our first priority being the health and safety of our people and the communities in which we operate,” the company said. “At both Argyle and Diavik, our approach to [managing] the risk of exposure to COVID-19 at the mine sites and in the local communities is to implement a suite of actions across rosters, flight schedules, health screenings, logistics and schedules, and reduction in non-essential travel to the mine site.”
Image: The Argyle mine. (Rio Tinto)