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COVID-19 Industry Update

As nations grapple with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australasia’s resources industry has never been more critical, and continuity in mining operations is essential. Protecting exploration, mining and processing activities and jobs in Australasia is of increasing importance to the economy, and our members’ livelihoods.

The strength, resilience and professionalism of the resources sector and its workers will be a critical cornerstone of the economy, both during the pandemic and afterwards as our country and the world rebuilds.

Health checkpoint set up at entrance to Peabody Moorvale, Queensland. Image: Queensland Resources Council.

Prioritising the health and safety of all people in resources

The priority of AusIMM remains promoting and protecting the health and safety of all resources professionals, particularly those working onsite during this time. AusIMM continues to work with industry on promoting best practice throughout this evolving COVID-19 challenge. The changes being made by industry quickly and efficiently, to their practices has once again positioned the resources sector and the professionals who work in it, as agile and future focused.

Minimising the spread of COVID-19 has led to modifications to operations impacting mining professionals, including for some, relocating interstate indefinitely or working different rosters. Such measures can preserve employment and minimise the spread of COVID-19, but due attention needs to be given to the mental health, well-being and the impact on family life for these workers.

AusIMM encourages affected workers to engage with their employers on these new measures and seek out assistance if needed through Beyond Blue or Mates in Mining to build resilience and support structures during this difficult period.

Increasing access to professional development

The onset of the global pandemic has only increased the need for resources workers to be able to build on professional development opportunities that are accessible and relevant to our changing industry. For 127 years, AusIMM has delivered high quality professional support and continuing education to the industry. The onset of COVID-19 has only accelerated our goal to provide even more accessible information and learnings through digital platforms. We remain in a strong position to shape careers, connect communities, build partnerships and uphold standards.

We are excited to support our members by delivering a new Digital Discovery Series – an online hub featuring material on a variety of topics to help you learn and stay connected, wherever you are in the world. Each month, this Series will feature themed material that may include expert webinars, videos and audio content, as well as informative articles and publications.

The first Series to be delivered as a webinar on 7 April will cover the pressing issue of Health and Safety in 2020 and the impacts of coronavirus, providing expert insights into how professionals can best keep themselves, their colleagues and their communities safe. Full details here >

As a completely new digital experience, AusIMM is excited to host International Uranium Digital Conference, Lithium and Battery Metals Digital Conference and Minesafe International Digital Conference during 2020. Professional development opportunities and access to critical industry keynotes at a truly global level has never been more accessible for professionals in the resources sector.

Changing travel restrictions impacting FIFO workers

Professionals working on site have been advised to continue working throughout the restrictions currently in place as they have been deemed “essential” to the economy.

Part of protecting the livelihoods of professionals in the industry relies on the need for the protection of the movement of essential workers, including across state borders, which is becoming an increasing challenge for mining companies in an era or border shutdowns and a decimated airline industry.

AusIMM estimates that 20 percent of our members are FIFO workers, regularly relying on moving in and out of states and mine sites for work. A constantly changing landscape and adjustments to quarantine requirements for FIFO professionals at a state level entering to access work, has led to a change of operation for mining professionals, including for some, relocating interstate indefinitely, and working different rosters.

AusIMM will endeavour to provide members with up to date information on these changes to ensure professionals are able to meet obligations and participate in the workforce safely and legally during COVID-19.

We are aware, that smaller mining companies, junior explorers as well as consultants and contractors however may find these new measures being incrementally implemented by states more difficult to adjust to and continuing to participate in work a more difficult task.

AusIMM has compiled a list of state by state information guides on travel restrictions as a one-stop-shop for updates.

Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New Zealand

BMA Brisbane Airport temperature testing. Image: Queensland Resources Council.

Promoting financial assistance for our industry

For a growing portion of the resources industry and the AusIMM membership, managing operational requirements and implementing government restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 may be overwhelming, and altogether impossible. This may impact small businesses and their employees as well as sole traders and AusIMM’s over 3000 consultants who provide vital expertise to the sector.

The Federal Government and State Governments have announced a series of stimulus packages which may be applicable to those suffering a financial downturn due to loss of work and revenue.

AusIMM has compiled a list of these measures and links to websites for further information on financial packages available as well as resources on how to support yourself, your business and any staff during this time:

Federal Government Stimulus packages:

Tasmania Financial support
Queensland Financial Support
Victoria Financial Support
Western Australia Financial Support
South Australia Financial Support
Northern Territory Financial Support
New South Wales Financial Support
New Zealand Financial Support

Working hand in hand with government

AusIMM is routinely working on the most up to date government advice and engaging with federal, state and territory governments on a daily basis to ensure they factor the interests of resources professionals into all aspects of the COVID-19 response.

This includes weekly departmental briefings with government departments providing those agencies with regular briefs on AusIMM activities and priorities.

Working with state mining departments is an important step, as they are themselves involved in whole-of-government decision-making processes when it comes to COVID-19 responses and ensures AusIMM is notified in a timely fashion of all significant progress.

Collaborating with our partners

AusIMM believes in working strongly with our industry partners to ensure the services we provide professionals are relevant and necessary.

As the industry looks to combat the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining safe operations, priorities and activities by industry partners, companies, peak bodies and suppliers are rapidly changing and AusIMM is collating all advice at a quick pace to provide support where needed.

AusIMM has been liaising with our key contacts in mining companies to get their feedback on the changes they are seeing routinely as they focus on business continuity and safe operations, while working to update policies and site plans to ensure the safety of workers and ongoing production.

This collation of feedback is playing a key role in the development of professional development needs for workers being put together by AusIMM in a changing sector under COVID-19.

Listening to our expert members

AusIMM’s professionals have always been the foundation of our policy expertise. As we work to combat the impact of COVID-19 head on, this is critical. As the eyes and ears on the ground, those experiencing these impacts first hand are best placed to feed back any areas of focus and work with the AusIMM on solutions during this time.

Given the pace of change regarding the spread of COVID-19, AusIMM is proactively making contact with professionals to ensure they feel supported and inviting the resources workforce to provide information regarding grassroots experiences during this time. This ensures that AusIMM is relevant to its all professionals concerns and needs as it continues to advocate on key priorities.

If you are in a position to contribute any necessary insight into the impacts of COVID-19 on professionals, please get in contact with the AusIMM.

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