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Barrick boosts inventory as miners prepare for COVID-19

Gold major Barrick Gold (TSX: ABX) said it was drawing on experience from combating Ebola outbreaks around its African operations as it increased its site-specific emergency response plans and regional crisis management plans to deal with “any manifestation of COVID-19 in or near its mines globally”.
Barrick boosts inventory as miners prepare for COVID-19 Barrick boosts inventory as miners prepare for COVID-19 Barrick boosts inventory as miners prepare for COVID-19 Barrick boosts inventory as miners prepare for COVID-19 Barrick boosts inventory as miners prepare for COVID-19

WHO confirmed COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000 cases globally

Staff reporter

Its announcement comes as South African miners said they could mobilise "large-scale medical facilities" if needed, Western Australian producers agreed to form a working group to address key coronavirus concerns, and attendance last week at PDAC 2020, the world's biggest annual exploration and mining convention, was lower as contagion fears kept some away.

Canada-based Barrick said it had not yet deemed it necessary to introduce any travel restrictions but said access to each site was strictly controlled and visitors, employees and contractors were routinely screened before and on arrival.

"Supplies to its mines have not been affected but the company is increasing its inventory of key commodities to above their normal level," the company said.

Barrick did not specify the "key commodities" but the news came as Australian shoppers made international headlines for panic-buying toilet paper supplies.

The Minerals Council South Africa released a nine-point action plan on Friday after the virus was confirmed to have arrived in the country, including ensuring access to items such as masks, sanitisers and testing kits.

"From an internal perspective, the industry is putting in place risk-mitigating measures to rapidly identify any cases of the virus, to ensure rapid isolation and contact tracing, and could - if it was necessary - mobilise large-scale medical facilities," the council said.

Meanwhile, Western Australian miners last week agreed to form a working group to address key coronavirus concerns after a roundtable hosted by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA.

CMEWA chief executive Paul Everingham told Mining Journal's sister publication Australia's Mining Monthly the working group would focus on streamlining industry's communications with the state and federal governments and deal with the transport issues of getting a coronavirus-infected patient from a mine site to suitable medical care.

WA-based iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG) last week said one of its team members who had presented with symptoms prompting testing had been cleared of having COVID-19.

FMG said since the virus outbreak in January, non-essential travel to sites had been postponed and "at this stage" it did not anticipate any impact to production schedules.

The World Health Organisation confirmed the global number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpassed 100,000 on the weekend.

"We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity," it said.

WHO said yesterday more than 100 countries had reported laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19, the flu-like virus which originated in China.

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