Mining Operations to Restart in JuneBy MBN Staff | Wed, 05/20/2020 - 18:07
Mexico’s miners are getting ready to resume operations in June. Health authorities will inspect companies’ sanitary protocols before deciding whether it is safe to get back to work.
As reported by Prensa Latina, Undersecretary of Mining Francisco Quiroga is confident that the mining industry will not have any trouble complying with the 78 safety guidelines issued by the federal government. Miners were already following most of them even before the pandemic broke out. The Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) concurred with Undersecretary Quiroga. As quoted in Prensa Latina, CAMIMEX’s president, pointed out that “protocols are extremely rigorous and adhere to the World Health Organization’s standards. They also comply with the best-practices guide issued by the Ministry of Economy.”
Undersecretary Quiroga had a meeting with union leaders in order to determine a joint strategy for a safe return to operations. As per information released by El Financiero, union leader Ismael Leija said that the meeting highlighted the importance or mining workers resuming their activities with great care and always complying with the provisions determined by health authorities. Moreover, leaders representing 800,000 unionized mining workers informed Undersecretary Quiroga that they are ready to resume activities, as long as the health protocols are respected.
State governments have also supported mining’s return to activities. El Economista informs that mining companies with operations in Chihuahua committed to follow the instructions on health and safety at work when restarting operations. The companies signed a document at the headquarters of Chihuahua’s government, after a meeting led by Governor Javier Corral and Undersecretary Quiroga. The document includes nine guidelines for guaranteeing a safe environment for mining workers and suppliers, including sanitary controls for entering and leaving mining units and providing private transportation for workers. The document indicates that companies must comply with all requirements the authorities issue and must update their procedures and operation plans as the health emergency situation evolves.
A number of companies have announced that they have begun to safely ramp up operations. Newmont announced “it will continue to utilize protective measures for workers and neighboring communities, including screening, physical distancing, deep cleaning and avoiding exposure for at-risk individuals.” Tom Palmer, Newmont’s President and CEO declared that “with the government of Mexico incorporating mining into the list of essential businesses that will be allowed to recommence activities on May 18, we are preparing Peñasquito and our workforce for a safe, orderly and timely resumption of production. The start-up of Peñasquito is expected to take roughly two weeks to reach stable production levels. As we begin to ramp up, Newmont will provide an update on our 2020 outlook.”
Torex Gold said it plans to resume full production at its El Limón Guajes mining complex by the end of this month. Enhanced health protection protocols will remain in place. At risk employees and others that can work from home will continue to so. Fred Stanford, President & CEO of Torex Gold, stated: “We have continued our active engagement with local communities during the national suspension of non-essential businesses. The members of these communities have encouraged us to restart operations as quickly as possible. With the Government lifting the suspension decree for mining as of May 18th, mobilization for a full restart of operations will begin immediately. The processing plant will continue to treat low grade stockpile material for the remainder of May. By that time, the crews will have ramped up mining operations and the plant will begin processing regular mine grade material. June is expected to be a routine production month. We are glad to be back."