An Asia-backed coal operation faced short-term delays due to the deadly disease.
One employee, who initially tested positive to COVID-19, temporarily closed Idemitsu Australia’s Boggabri Coal Mine – 118km northwest of Tamworth.
The proponent quickly isolated several “close contacts” and liaised with New South Wales Health to contain any potential outbreak. This was a necessary precaution according to the company’s site management plan.
“We have shut down the mine site as a result, as further testing takes place, and we are working closely with – and are following NSW Health advice,” a company spokesperson told Fairfax Media.
“Idemitsu Australia Resources, at Boggabri and across all of its sites had been and continue to follow our COVID management protocols including increased hygiene practices in this time.”
After 24 hours of isolation authorities finally realised the worker had produced a so-called “false positive” test result. The employee was released shortly after.
“We appreciate this has been a long and difficult day for the Boggabri Coal regional communities, and we sincerely thank all workers, families and the community for your professionalism and understanding in dealing with this complex situation,” the company said according to the media outlet.
The mine produces up to 7 million tonnes of coal each year, and employs about 600 people. It is unclear whether the shutdown affected production.