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how the Veladero mine works to revive the economy


Mining is a key industry in human civilization and indispensable for its future development. True “mother” of all industries

This May 7 is commemorated the Mining Day, because that date, but from 1813, the Mining Promotion Law was passed in Argentina, in order to “develop natural resource exploitations such as minerals, water, oil and Coal”.

Mining is a key industry in human civilization and indispensable for its future development. True “mother” of all industries, providing the materials with which almost everything we know is produced.

For this reason, in the context of the social, preventive and compulsory isolation that prevails due to the Coronavirus pandemic, mining was included by the National Government as an essential activity for the development of our country. This is how the miners, united with the rest of the country in these exceptional times, are finding a way to return to work with more care and to undertake the task of recovery that lies ahead.

Back from the hand of protocols

In the province of San Juan, the Veladero mine, an operation of Barrick and Shandong Gold, which is among the main gold deposits in Argentina, was one of the first companies to gradually resume operations. To move forward, it implemented a Covid-19 Preventive Control Plan, taking the health care of workers and the community as a priority, aligning its measures with those dictated by the Health authorities, the Ministry of Mining and the Province of San Juan.

The work in a remote site at 4,000 meters above sea level and 370 kilometers from the city of San Juan, implied the adoption of very concrete measures. The first and most important is the health check prior to traveling to the mine that includes a record of the temperature of each person, a smell test and an affidavit of health. The worker receives a personal hygiene kit with alcohol gel, chinstrap and nitrile gloves.

The section by bus, about 6 hours, is made using only 50% of the seats and in accordance with the provincial regulations with the use of mouth guards. At the moment the mine works only with the personnel that have residence in the province of San Juan.

Upon arrival at the mining camp, the temperature is controlled again with thermal camera technology. This control will be reiterated in the working days that are, more usually, 14 days of work and 14 of rest. The place where the workers are staying was quickly adapted to be able to assign one person per room. New canteens were opened and the entire mining camp was segmented by work areas, which markedly reduces interaction between people. Both accommodation, workshops, offices and vehicles are constantly cleaned and disinfected.

Before returning home, each miner must stop by the on-site hospital and perform a health check. Precisely the medical team was strengthened and has the resources for the management and isolation of any suspected case with 7 ambulances, 6 ventilators, 30 beds, 6 defibrillators, 5 cardiological monitors, added to 2 or 3 permanent doctors, 6 nurses and 1 doctor. radiologist. At this point everything works in permanent coordination with the Health authorities.

Solidarity mining in the Pandemic

Marcelo Álvarez, Executive Director of Barrick in Argentina, assured: “The company believes that the Coronavirus pandemic requires a joint response from all parts of the Argentine mining industry.” For this reason, in addition to taking extra care on returning to work, the company developed different alliances to accompany national and provincial authorities in their fight against the virus.

Barrick and his partner in Veladero’s joint venture, Shandong Gold Mining, provided 157,000 RT-PCR and RNA test kits, while CAEM contributed the rest to reach 214,000 tests through its partners in San Juan, Santa Cruz. , Catamarca, Jujuy and Salta. The value of the tests is $ 4.1 million and will be used throughout the country. This includes a $ 2 million contribution from Veladero and additionally, Barrick contributed an additional $ 1 million through CAEM.

“Our culture is to take care of the well-being of employees and communities. In addition to the extensive preventive measures that we have already introduced in Veladero, we are making this recent contribution to the Government to show that we carry the well-being of all of Argentina in our hearts,” added Álvarez.

This action was part of a broad initiative of the company to help fight the pandemic, which until now included the provision of beds, tents, residential buildings, personal protective equipment, food, disinfection equipment, as well as the loan of its complex from offices in Albardón to the Government of San Juan.

Prospects for Veladero

“We are in front of a revitalized Veladero and prepared for a new future. As our president Mark Bristow explained in March, after a thorough review of his strategy and business plan, the life of the mine will last at least 10 years,” he said. Álvarez. Since 2005 Veladero has contributed about $ 9.5 billion to the Argentine economy through taxes, royalties, wages and payments to local suppliers. In addition, the company established a new community trust fund that, depending on production, is expected to generate more than $ 88 million for the development of local infrastructure over the next decade. According to the company’s local employment policy, 99% of the workforce is Argentine (88.6% from the province of San Juan).

For Marcelo Álvarez in these exceptional circumstances that we face, the mining industry and Veladero are prepared to contribute to the process of unity and recovery that Argentina has ahead.

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Written by Argentina News

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