AAMEG CALLS ON MEMBERS TO PREPARE A COVID-19 RESPONSE PLAN
By AAMEG | 15 March 2020
Perth, Western Australia: The Australia Africa Minerals and Energy Group (AAMEG) is urging its members to prepare for COVID-19, today launching an online knowledge hub to support Australian minerals and energy companies with operations in Africa.
Designed to keep members up to speed with the evolving crisis, the hub’s central focus is a COVID-19 response plan template, addressing the specific safety and risk management needs of Africa based operations.
“The media is busy publishing all types of stories, largely focussed on China, Italy, South Korea, Spain and Japan,” says AAMEG Chief Executive Officer Bill Witham. “As the peak body representing Australian companies engaged in the development of Africa’s resource industry, we felt it was important to create a dedicated space with tailored information and advice, given our members face unique challenges in combatting public health crises.”
AAMEG’s COVID-19 response plan template addresses a range of considerations including minesite preparations, scenario drills, updating travel protocols, examining supply chain management and communicating the plan in all relevant languages.
And with only a handful of cases confirmed in African nations, companies have the opportunity to get ahead with preparations, according to Shane O’Sullivan, Corporate Security Manager at Resolute Mining Limited.
“Formalising a response plan is the first step,” he commented. “It gives companies a uniform response, which can be tested on the ground and escalated as the situation demands. It also allows them to report critical information to shareholders.”
AAMEG is also gathering expert legal advice in regards to duty of care for the resource industry, specific to COVID-19, which will soon be available via the online information hub.
“We want to ensure our members are in the best possible position to respond to COVID-19 in regards to duty of care for their staff, their suppliers, partners and communities,” Bill Witham commented.
As part of its communication efforts, AAMEG is pooling advice from its larger member organisations, many of whom have vast experience in public health crisis management, such as Resolute Mining and Lycopodium.
“Back in mid-January we advised the need for preparations, as we could see that this had the potential to develop into a major threat to international operations,” said Resolute Corporate Security Manager Shane O’Sullivan. “We treat this like would any other business risk. It’s a matter of maintaining our operations to the best of our ability.”
Mr O’Sullivan explained that their response plan included introducing strict hygiene protocols, immediately restricting all non essential business travel for all personnel, limiting entry to the sites and ensuring medical facilities on site had necessary resources to identify and isolate infected patients.
He also said that their efforts to combat Ebola in West Africa made Resolute Mining better placed to respond to the arrival of COVID-19.
This sentiment is shared by the World Health Organization Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who said that the Ebola readiness efforts will indeed be helpful in combatting COVID-19, allowing communities to draw on prior experience.
Peter De Leo, Managing Director of Lycopodium and Board Member of AAMEG, stressed the importance of a multilateral, cooperative approach to addressing the crisis, one that goes beyond cursory infection and disease control measures.
“We all form a community no matter where we are, we all play a part of the responsibility to protect not only our employees, but also the broader community,” he commented. “Risk management is more effective when we share our collective knowledge. Lycopodium shares information with our contractors and subcontractors, and we even have a client who is piggybacking on our work. It’s an area where need to work together.”
AAMEG’s COVID-19 information hub is accessible, via the library link on their website home page, and will be regularly updated with resources, information and advice. Members are encouraged to contact AAMEG with any further queries or concerns.
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Founded in May 2011, the Australia-Africa Minerals & Energy Group (AAMEG) is the peak body representing Australian companies engaged in the development of Africa’s resource industry. AAMEG provides a forum for members to network and share operational experience; to advocate at an industry level on behalf of members; and to assist member companies to engage with Australian and African governments and other relevant institutions and organisations.