We track the situation in every region where we operate, and adapt control measures as needed, in line with government directives. Our specialist in-house team follows the latest health research and advice, and monitors new variants. Their expertise also helps inform our policies and control measures.
The pandemic is ongoing and is continuing to present new challenges for our operations and supply chains. We are constantly evaluating the situation and addressing emerging issues as they arise.
COVID-19 vaccination support
We have supported government vaccination campaigns and set up vaccination clinics near our operations in several locations across the US, Mongolia, South Africa, Madagascar, Canada and Australia – for our employees, contractors, their families, and community members.
Position statement on COVID-19 vaccination
In line with our commitment to the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees, contractors, their families, and the communities where we operate, we have updated our position statement regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. It reflects our commitment to ensuring our people are vaccinated against COVID-19, based on key principles, including regional risk assessments to determine whether certain roles, locations or tasks require individuals to be vaccinated. Our approach is guided by our commitment to respect human rights. Any vaccination requirements will be closely managed with care.
Working with our customers and business continuity
We are continuing to work with our customers to fulfil orders and meet their requirements while complying with government directives, with our commercial teams in our key locations focussing on business continuity and customer support.
We have global, site and regional business resilience teams to keep our operations running safely, enabling commercial supply chain continuity, and to plan for future eventualities under various scenarios. Critical infrastructure at each of our operations has been assessed and there a continuity plan in place.
Robotics students use 3D printing to help health workers
Students at Globe High School in Globe, Arizona, wanted to make sure local hospitals had the safety equipment they needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
So they teamed up with FIRST, a global robotics community, to come up with a way to 3D print face shields for doctors and nurses. The shield frames can be sanitised and reused, and the plastic face cover can be replaced as needed.
The team hopes to produce around 100 face shields a week. As partners of the Globe High School Robotics programme, we couldn’t be happier to see them pioneer progress.
Reducing the risk of transmission
During the COVID-19 global pandemic, we took active measures to reduce the risk of transmission from our employees and contractors to local communities.
We have strict protocols in place guiding the way we engage with communities. This includes two community-related verification steps in our critical risk management system, requiring our teams to assess potential COVID-19 risks to the community and develop a plan to manage them.
For example, at our Weipa bauxite operations in far north Queensland, Australia, we worked closely with the local disaster management group, including the town authority and medical department, to develop and implement specific plans in response to the federal government declaring biosecurity health zones. At the Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada, where many of our employees come from vulnerable, remote communities, we introduced a range of measures to minimise the risk of transmission, including mandatory testing, calls with medical professionals prior to travel, enhanced hygiene and physical distancing measures, roster and flight changes, and the mandatory use of masks.
Supporting community preparedness and recovery
Our $25 million additional investment to support global grassroots, community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery will predominantly focus on value-in-kind opportunities. These included:
- Pledging A$1.25 million over five years to the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia (Queensland Section) to improve emergency and remotely delivered health care services across the region
- Partnering with five municipal governments, the First Nation of Mashteuiatsh and financial services group Desjardins to create a regional stimulus fund, which provided financial support for health and safety, productivity and efficiency measures to make businesses more sustainable. The fund, which complemented existing local government initiatives, provided C$750,000 to more than 100 businesses
- Upgrading a building and turning it into a dedicated treatment centre that can receive up to 108 patients, and treat 60 people – including up to 32 needing intensive care – in the Anosy region of Madagascar
- Donating 25,000 masks and other equipment worth around C$100,000 to the local health authority and social services in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean, in Quebec, Canada
- Providing alternative housing support to a local shelter in Labrador, Canada, for use if women and children affected by COVID-19 need a secure refuge
- Donating EUR 20,000 to the Red Cross in Belgrade and EUR 20,000 to the Red Cross in Loznica for essential food and hygiene items for the cities’ most vulnerable citizens
Working across the industry and with governments
We continue to look for opportunities to share knowledge of response activities and to partner with others in the industry to find joint solutions to address and aid in the recovery from this global pandemic. We are actively contributing to COVID-19 related best practice forums in health, safety and communities, as established by the International Council of Mining and Metals (ICMM).
We are working closely with governments around the world to ensure its operations can continue to contribute to society at this challenging time.
Supporting vital scientific research into COVID-19
We donated A$670,000 to the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, to help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects children.
The research – which is focused on children’s immune systems – will help scientists understand the disease and how it progresses, how it spreads within families, and the long-term effects of COVID-19 on our immune systems. We are proud to play some small part in expanding the world’s understanding of COVID-19 and help protect our communities – and especially our children – in the future.