COVID-19

The Newcrest Melbourne office, including the registered office of Newcrest and its Australian subsidiaries, is currently closed due to COVID-19 Government restrictions (and/or recommendations) with staff working offsite.

For all enquiries, please call Newcrest Reception on +61 3 9522 5333 (option 6). 

Newcrest will accept service of documents/process sent to Reception@newcrest.com.au while the registered office is closed.

Newcrest is continuing to closely monitor the developments and escalating global concern around Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

31 MAY 2021

The number of cases testing positive for COVID-19 at Lihir remains at levels that are within the capability of the care and treatment and isolation facilities, with the majority of these cases continuing to be asymptomatic.

Following the travel suspension announced by the Australian Government between Papua New Guinea and Australia in March 2021, charter flights have resumed with restricted capacity. The limited commercial flight availability between Port Moresby and Brisbane continues to be utilised.

Newcrest continues to strengthen its COVID-19 controls at Lihir, focusing on spread containment through extensive contact tracing and isolation procedures.

No material impacts to FY21 gold production at Lihir have occurred to date. However, as announced in the March 2021 quarterly report, the ability to attract labour, travel restrictions, contact tracing and associated isolation requirements has resulted in an impact to total material mined. Should these conditions persist or worsen, there is the potential for production to be impacted.

29 March 2021

Newcrest is continuing to work with the Australian and Papua New Guinean Governments and other relevant authorities to manage both the escalation of COVID-19 cases across PNG and travel restrictions between PNG and Australia.

There has been an increase in the number of cases that have tested positive for COVID-19 at Lihir, with the majority of these cases being asymptomatic. Care and support continues to be provided for these quarantined patients until they are free from the virus.

Existing controls at Lihir have also been strengthened, with a focus on spread containment through extensive contact tracing and isolation procedures. Tracking devices that record close contacts and enable rapid contact tracing have been widely distributed and further controls to segregate the workforce have been implemented.

Gold production at Lihir has continued without interruption and contingencies are in place which seek to minimise disruption to the operation in the event of a significant number of operational employees and/or contractors contracting the virus.

19 March 2021

Travel suspension between Papua New Guinea and Australia

Newcrest  is currently assessing the implications of the two-week travel suspension announced by the Australian Government between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

Newcrest is working closely with the Australian Government to better understand details of the travel suspension and to determine and mitigate any potential impacts.

The Lihir operation is currently undergoing a planned maintenance shutdown and is in the process of progressively starting up. There is currently no anticipated interruption to gold production arising as a result of the travel suspension.

As always, the health and safety of Newcrest’s people and the local community is of primary concern.

A small number of COVID-19 cases amongst the workforce are currently being managed by Newcrest at Lihir, with patients remaining in quarantine where they are being monitored and supported by our medical staff until they are free of the virus.

Strict hygiene, social distancing and other COVID-19 management protocols remain in place at Lihir with comprehensive testing, quarantine and precautionary contact tracing procedures enforced. Lihir has a dedicated isolation camp and separate isolation and treatment facility where care and support can be provided.

Further updates will be provided through the COVID-19 page on the Newcrest website and the market will be kept informed of any material impacts in line with Newcrest’s continuous disclosure obligations.

19 JANUARY 2021

Newcrest is managing a number of positive COVID-19 cases at its Red Chris mine in British Columbia and on Lihir Island in Papua New Guinea.

Comprehensive testing, quarantine and precautionary contact tracing procedures continue to be enforced across all Newcrest sites with the cases identified to date at Lihir and Red Chris being largely asymptomatic.

The Lihir and Red Chris operations remain unaffected by the positive cases with strict hygiene, social distancing and other COVID-19 management protocols in place.

As previously highlighted, all of Newcrest’s operations have business continuity plans and contingencies in place to minimise disruptions to the operations in the event of a significant number of operational employees and/or contractors contracting the virus.

It is expected that these plans will enable the operations to continue producing in line with the production schedule, and if there are any material impacts, Newcrest will inform the market in line with its continuous disclosure obligations.

11 JANUARY 2021

There has now been a total of 12 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 recorded at Lihir island

Nine of these cases have since returned negative results and have been released from isolation.

All 12 cases experienced either no symptoms or mild symptoms and all are in good health.

The operation remains unaffected by the positive cases through the diligent application of a strict COVID-19 management policy, including extensive contact tracing and testing.

18 December 2020

Newcrest is currently managing two confirmed cases of COVID-19 at its Red Chris Mine in British Columbia

The patients were essentially asymptomatic and were identified through our testing regime upon arrival at site. They have been isolated in line with strict COVID-19 protocols.

Contact tracing has been conducted with persons of interest moved into quarantine as a  precautionary measure where they will be monitored.

The operation remains unaffected by these cases and elevated precautionary measures on site have been implemented.

15 December 2020

Newcrest is currently managing four new confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Lihir Island

All patients are well and will remain in quarantine where they are being monitored and supported by our medical staff until they are free of the virus.

Contact tracing and testing is currently underway with persons of interest moved into quarantine as a precautionary measure where they will be monitored.

The operations remain unaffected by the positive cases, with strict hygiene, social distancing and other COVID-19 management protocols remaining in place.

9 November 2020

Arriving passenger into Lihir tests positive for COVID-19 

Newcrest confirms that it is managing a COVID-19 case in its isolation and treatment facility at Lihir Island. The individual, a PNG national, flew into Lihir from another part of PNG on 2 November, and as per protocol was isolated along with the other arrivals in a designated isolation camp while testing was conducted, and the 14-day isolation period followed.

Precautionary contract tracing and testing has been completed, including the testing of all other passengers from the individual’s flight and all tests on these other passengers have returned negative to COVID-19. All passengers will continue to be tested and monitored while they remain in isolation.

The operations remain unaffected by the positive case as the individual did not attend any workplaces and did not interact with the workforce.

There are no other suspected cases of COVID-19 at this time.

The individual has minor symptoms and has been moved from the isolation camp into a separate isolation and treatment facility where care and support are being provided.

COVID-19 Protocols at Lihir

Newcrest has in place a stringent isolation and testing protocol for all inbound flight and ferry arrivals.

Every workforce member arriving at Lihir must undergo mandatory 14-day isolation in a dedicated, guarded facility. During isolation they are tested using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method multiple times and released only after returning negative results.

Expatriates must complete an additional PCR test in their country of origin and return a negative result before they are authorised to enter PNG.

Newcrest has established a COVID-19 treatment facility for treatment and a separate isolation facility designed for positive and suspected positive workforce cases. Any persons who test positive are removed from the isolation camp and brought to the treatment facility or isolation facility as directed by the Lihir Chief Medical Officer based on the level of treatment necessary.

Positive case detection also triggers contact tracing and precautionary testing and isolation steps.

Across all of Newcrest’s operations we have a number of business continuity plans and contingencies ready to implement in the event of a significant number of operational employees and contractors being exposed / contracting the virus in order to minimise disruptions to our operations. 
We expect that these plans will enable the operations to continue producing in line with our production schedule, and if there are any material impacts, we will inform the market in line with our continuous disclosure obligations. 
Emergency management team

At a site level, we have established an Emergency Management Team (EMT) of key management.

The EMT is meeting at a minimum twice daily whilst we consider all of the current information from a global and a local perspective, amending our response as necessary, and ensuring that key messages are communicated to our people, community representatives and neighbouring communities with priority.

We have developed in conjunction with experts a Communicable Disease Control Plan (CDCP) which is updated as required and contains site-specific isolation protocols.

On-site medical provider

Across Newcrest, we have plans in place to ensure the health and safety of people against the potential of exposure and management of COVID-19.

The measures and plans have been developed in full consultation with and based on advice from a range of health officials. This includes our on-site medical providers supplying remote-care nurses under the supervision of on call off-site physicians. 

Return to work restrictions

Newcrest has implemented return to work restrictions for personnel who have travelled to or returned from any international locations.

In these cases, the person must remain in self isolation for 14 days before they will be permitted to return to work.

We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our response accordingly.

Controls and communication

Newcrest has and is continuing to implement additional precautionary controls that are specific to our operation. We are providing regular updates regarding these controls to employees, contractors, and Community representatives.

We have also commenced regular contact with community representatives to discuss the controls we have put in place, to respond to concerns arising from neighbouring communities, and to ensure alignment with protocols neighbouring communities wish to put in place.

Working remotely

Newcrest has implemented an additional measure to reduce exposure and potential transmission of COVID-19 by identifying roles where a physical presence in the workplace is not required.

This measure is consistent with global government efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This activity is also occurring across Newcrest Operational sites as well as corporate offices.

Domestic Australian restrictions

We are discussing with the Australian, New South Wales and Western Australian governments the implications of the additional restrictions put in place by these and other jurisdictions in recent days.

In the case of Western Australia we are working to adjust organisational and workforce arrangements at Telfer in response to recently announced ‘closure’ of the state border by the state Premier.

In New South Wales the state government has clarified in dialogue with the industry that the restrictions announced by the Premier on ‘non-essential services’ will not apply to the mining industry or its suppliers. 

The Minerals Council of Australia has obtained confirmation from the Australian Government that there is a workplace exemption for the mining industry when it comes to the ban on gatherings of 100 people or more.

We are joining other industry leaders in dialogue with the Government about challenges facing the industry including workforce movement restrictions, pressure on infrastructure such as ports, rail networks and community health facilities and medium-term equipment and consumables supply risks.

Through these discussions we are also acknowledging the particular responsibility on the mining industry to support measures to protect vulnerable people in remote and regional communities.

FIFO flight operations to Lihir

We have suspended all FIFO flight operations from Australia into Lihir until further notice, with effect from last Friday. Outgoing flights remain in place. This step was taken in line with the Australian Government’s advice to Australians not to travel overseas until further notice. 

Our management team is largely residential and nearly all of our colleagues there are Papua New Guinean. The team, under the leadership of Chris Jordaan as resident General Manager, is continuing to operate the mine safely, focusing on maintaining health protocols. We appreciate the efforts of all our people at Lihir, and the willingness of some to reinforce the resident team in recent times to ensure the safety and sustainability of the operations.

There are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus on Lihir, or any of our other sites, at this point. The two employees that were under observation at the Lihir Medial Centre have been cleared and discharged. Our health provider at the Lihir Medical Centre will manage any future cases according to our COVID-19 Management Protocols.

The site team is now doing further work to set the site up safely for a period in which domestic travel within PNG is also limited. This follows an announcement by PNG Prime Minister Marape that domestic travel restrictions will apply within the country for 14 days from this Tuesday. The Port Moresby office and the rest of the government relations team is supporting Lihir in its dialogue with the PNG Government about the potential impact of these changes, and to ensure orderly implementation as required .

We continue to ensure the residential and broader community at Lihir is properly staffed and supported from a health and safety perspective over the coming period, and we continue to follow all recommendations from the PNG National Department of Health.

Newcrest COVID-19 control measures include:

  • Passenger screening and health checks will be conducted for all FIFO (Fly-In-Fly-Out), contractors and visitors travelling to Newcrest operations and/or projects

  • Newcrest has recommended against all international travel at the current time

  • Self-quarantine applies to those who have travelled internationally for business or privately in the past 14 days, as well as any travellers who have been in contact with a person diagnosed with or suspected of having the virus

  • Newcrest staff shall not attend conference or similar events until further notice

  • Employees on all sites have and will continue to receive regular communication updates through the Health and Safety Department and Newcrest All Site notifications, particularly on sanitation practices and what to do if they feel symptomatic

  • Local communities are being updated on Newcrest’s current site practices in relation to COVID-19

  • Newcrest corporate personnel are working remotely as practicable

  • Communications to all sites have been issued highlighting safe and hygienic practises to minimise spread of infection.