The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Pogo worker COVID-19 cases climb to six

All cases have recovered or recovering away from mine site North of 60 Mining News – April 17, 2020

Series: COVID-19 coverage | Story 30

Northern Star Resources Ltd. April 16 report that there are three active cases of COVID-19 among the workforce from its Pogo gold mine in Alaska and another three have tested positive for the virus and have recovered.

All the Pogo workers with COVID-19 were tested and remain off-site.

Northern Star's medical team is monitoring the active cases, which are considered mild-to-moderate and all three workers are improving.

The Australia-based mining company has implemented extensive measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19 among its Pogo workforce and is working with local and state health officials on mitigation practices and management of any COVID-19 cases.

"We are implementing extensive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our Pogo workforce," Northern Star Resources Executive Chairman Bill Beament said. "We are working closely with the Alaskan authorities to ensure we meet all their requirements and in some cases, we go above and beyond these recommendations."

These stricter measures include an obligatory 14-day quarantine period for every person who comes to site from interstate.

Northern Star also requires that those who attend site are questioned about their travel movements and undergo a health assessment and temperature check. All employees are required to immediately report illnesses of any kind and any worker who presents COVID-19 symptoms is asked to seek COVID-19 testing.

Pogo's remote location is assisting efforts to closely monitor protocols as well as the ability to isolate immediately as needed. To further take advantage of the isolation provided by the mining camp, the rotations of mine workers have been adjusted to limit movement in and out of the mine site.

In addition, Northern Star has implemented strict protocols on-site that include:

• Regular hygiene stops.

• Cleaning stations.

• Six-foot social distancing practices.

• Meeting areas reduced to fewer than five people.

• Virtual meetings when possible.

Beament said the company's top priority is the health and safety of its people and the communities in which it operates, a standard in place long before COVID-19 and will remain after the pandemic.

Mining is considered an essential industry in the United States and the Pogo Mine is an important economic contributor during the COVID-19 slowdown, especially in the Interior region of the state.

"Pogo employs 420 people and also supports a wide range of Alaskan business," said Beament. "The measures we have put in place are aimed at protecting the lives and livelihoods of our people and those of the wider Alaskan community."

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Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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