Interstate fly-in fly-out (FIFO) travel has been suspended for almost a week due to a viral outbreak in South Australia.
No FIFO mine workers will be allowed to enter the Festival State for six days, if they usually reside in a different part of the country.
The delay came after the State Government announced a new “circuit-breaker” to help contain a local jump in active coronavirus (COVID) cases to 34. QMEB understands none of the cases directly involve mine workers.
Six day pause
“FIFO movements, construction activities, and non-essential operations across the resources and energy sector are to stop for six days,” State Department for Energy and Mining chief executive Paul Heithersay said in a public statement.
Although many FIFO workers will be unable to cross the state border, those who are already in SA will be allowed to continue mining and smelting work for “continuity and to prevent damage”.
“Only employees who are identified as essential workers will be exempt from this direction,” Heithersay said.
Exemptions may be offered to infrastructure operations or facilities that cannot shut down without causing damage or loss to plant and equipment.
Changeover of FIFO and drive-in drive-out (DIDO) rosters may take place where those staff are considered to be critical. Wearing masks on the mine site is not mandatory.
“For remote resources sector operations, this means operations can continue with in situ workforces, rather than have employees isolated in camps for the duration of the direction or being required to return home,” Heithersay said.
“Maintenance shutdown and critical installation activities underway at resource processing and energy generation sites may continue with minimum possible staff and staff movements. Resource exploration at remote sites, where exploration teams are already deployed and accommodated on site in isolation from the community, may continue.”
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A statewide stay at home order was declared on November 19, and non-essential workers will be unable to perform their duties at their physical work location until at least November 25.