The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has released the guidelines for the continuation of mining and mineral processing operations across areas now deemed at low risk of the deadly coronavirus.
“A workforce anywhere between 50 percent up to full operational capacity at the mine or plant site shall be allowed, without prejudice to work-from-home or other alternative work arrangements,” MGB Director Wilfredo Moncano was quoted in a Reuters report.
Mining firms and companies shall provide medical equipment and supplies – such as thermal scanners, face masks, hand gloves, hand sanitizers, and transportation to and from mine and plant sites – to protect their workers from the viral disease.
It was noted that physical distancing and a “no face mask, no entry” policy shall be strictly implemented at work areas. The premises shall also be regularly sanitized and disinfected.
Furthermore, cargo vessels shipping minerals shall observe a 14-day quarantine starting from their departure at the last port of call. Likewise, no vessel crew shall be allowed to disembark.
The country’s top nickel miners have resumed mining and shipping operations in the Caraga region following shutdowns to prevent the transmission of the virus. However, resumption was advised to be gradual.
According to Philippine Nickel Industry Association President Dante Bravo, the local mining industry is complying with the health and safety protocols while adjusting to the “new normal.”