Canada-based major Barrick Gold said on Friday that it was prepared to deal with any manifestation of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, in, or near, its mines globally.
Drawing on experience gained combating Ebola outbreaks around its African operations, Barrick has increased its site-specific emergency response plans, as well as regional crisis management plans to deal with any cases of Covid-19.
“Barrick is closely monitoring the situation, engaging with health authorities and tracking updates from the international medical community,” the miner, which has 25 operating mines on five continents, said in a statement.
The group also confirmed that it had not yet introduced any travel restrictions.
Barrick’s statement comes as the number of people infected by the virus nears 100 000, with more than 3 300 deaths. The virus has spread to about 80 countries and territories since it was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in December 2019.
CEO Mark Bristow said earlier this week in an interview with CNBC that the mining company had learned valuable lessons during the 2014 outbreak of Ebola. Its operations are located within close proximity to the areas that were affected by the deadly Ebola pandemic, in West Africa.
“What that’s taught us is how to manage these situations and the importance of knowing where people have come from, making sure that we attend to hygiene and that we control the access of people into our operations,” Bristow said. Even more importantly, Bristow said Barrick learned how to manage “the logistics and the inventory of our critical consumables and those hard-moving items".
Barrick confirmed on Friday in a statement that supplies to its mines had not been affected and that the company was increasing its inventory of key commodities to above their normal level. Placed and forecast orders were intact.