For the first time since 17 March, producer K92 Mining confirmed 11 May that it had resumed fly-in fly-out travel for its workforce between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia after the latter’s government notified them of lifted restrictions.
The move came after the launch of enhanced COVID-19 mitigation procedures for FIFO workers, and the company said it will be ensuring no further disruptions occur during the transfer of expatriate personnel.
During the shutdown of travel, the company’s Kainantu gold mine remains in operation, albeit with a comprehensive management plan for the virus and with a significant focus on health and safety and risk mitigation.
Within the plan, K92 operates a government-recognised testing lab facility, has qualified medical personnel on-site, quarantine and isolation facilities for incoming staff, testing for all incoming staff and enhanced hygiene, disinfecting and training systems and procedures.
Some non-production related activities were impacted by the interruption, including Kainantu’s twin incline, a long-lead time item for the third phase of the mine’s production expansion. K92 also realised a reduction in exploration and resource definition drilling during the idle, and as such has delayed the release of its DFS until the fourth quarter of 2021.
K92 CEO and Director John Lewins said that, while there were some limited effects on operations due to the personnel reduction, it is not expected to impact the company’s whole-year 2021 guidance.
He also thanked the governments of both countries for their support during the “challenging period” for the industry.