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Rio Tinto worker tests positive for COVID-19

Rio Tinto worker tests positive

A Rio Tinto worker has tested positive to COVID-19 after spending time at the company’s Weipa operation.

The employee is a Brisbane based staff member and is not a FIFO worker but became unwell five days after returning to Brisbane. It is believed that he was not infectious while he was on site.

Today Queensland Health officials confirmed that they have undertaken contact tracing and have briefed site staff of the potential symptoms in readiness for an outbreak

Rio Tinto Weipa General Manager Brad Welsh said, in a public letter that a number of FIFO contractors have been relocated to Weipa for at least 6 months to reduce the risk of transmission and to support mining operations.

“It is absolutely critical that we do everything we can to keep COVID-19 out of our local communities,” Mr Welsh said.

“This includes Weipa, Napranum, Mapoon, and more broadly all remote communities across the Cape.’’

Rio Tinto said in a statement that our focus is on the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we operate and on keeping our operations running safely, so we can continue to contribute to local and national economies and serve our customers. 

“We have taken extensive measures across the business to help protect our people and communities, and have increased these as the pandemic spreads, in line with guidance or directives from governments and advice from international health organisations on best practice. “

“We have also pledged $25 million to support global grassroots, community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery. This takes our total estimated voluntary global community contributions to around $60 million for 2020.” a company spokesperson said.

There are 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Cairns region according to Queensland Health.

The Health Regulator is also looking to contact people on QF922 Sydney to Cairns on the 22/3/202 and QF701 Melbourne to Cairns for the 22/3/2020.

Read more Mining Safety News

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  • The Rio Tinto Worker is not a FIFO Worker.

    Does this mean that he/she is a Brisbane/Melbourne Head Office boss?

    What steps is Rio Tinto taking to get additional health resources up to Weipa and the surrounding Indigenous Communities, now that a Rio Virus carrier has travelled into Weipa and the Mine?

    What does their Government endorsed Plans mandate as actions?

    https://minerals.org.au/resources-managing-covid-19

    What additional resources is the State and Federal Governments planning to deploy?

    The so called protocols were supposed to protect the remote mining and indigenous communities from exactly this event.

    Weipa and the surrounding Indigenous Communities are about as remote as you can be in Queensland.

    Considering that these same Indigenous People were forced from their ancestral lands in the late 1950’s by an Act of the Queensland Parliament.
    Into these Townships that were based on existing Missions established and run by the Presbyterian Church for religious conversion purposes.
    Dispossessed, Forcibly rounded up and removed. Little to no compensation. Left to their own devices except for stolen children and their wages stolen by their so called betters.

    Now a deadly disease with no immunity for anyone on the planet, let alone these remote communities

    What are Rio Tinto and the Governments now doing?

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