Mining majors BHP and Rio Tinto announce pledges to fight coronavirus

As mining operations around the world are being suspended or wound down, companies including BHP and Rio Tinto have made pledges to help prevent the spread of COVID19 (coronavirus).

On Sunday, BHP launched an US$8 million plan to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus in Chile, where the world’s biggest miner operates the Escondida and Pampa Norte copper mines.

This follows the company’s decision last week to exclude contractors from its Chilean operations for 15 days, as the number of confirmed cases in the South American country reaches 2,139, including seven deaths.

BHP said the plan involves an early detection programme that includes 150.000 rapid tests able to provide results in 24 hours, 10 units for sampling and mobile tents and permanent units, among other measures.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto has pledged a further $25 million to support global grassroots community coronavirus preparedness and recovery, taking its total contributions to around $60 million in 2020.

“Covid-19 is a human tragedy and we all have to play our part as the pandemic spreads,” said chief executive J-S Jacques. “Rio Tinto’s first priority remains the health and safety of all of our employees and communities.”

Despite pressure to significantly reduce or suspend its operations, Rio is continuing to run most of its assets around the world. Jacques stressed that the company is not being complacent and has taken extensive measures to help protect its people and communities.