Rio Tinto to relax COVID-19 controls at Western Australian operations

Rio Tinto will de-escalate its COVID-19 controls across its Western Australian operations as the state enters its second phase of easing restrictions relating to controlling the spread of the pandemic.

The mining giant plans to gradually revert work rosters across its operations in the coming weeks as there are low community transmission risks and it will reopen its Perth office in June, with staff required to take a pre-entry health questionnaire and subjected to temperature checks.

At its Pilbara iron ore operations, the company’s fly-in fly-out (FIFO) rosters will return to a two-weeks-on/two-weeks-off schedule, instead of an eight-days-on/six-days-off pattern implemented at the height of the pandemic in March.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way we run our business and Rio Tinto made significant changes across our operations to protect our people and the communities where we operate,” said Rio’s iron ore chief exec Chris Salisbury.

“We know that we will need to co-exist with COVID-19 for some time, however, without compromising our commitment to health and safety, we will slowly start to implement changes to our business in-line with the easing of government restrictions.

“An appropriate range of measures and controls will remain in place to keep our operations running safely, ensuring we can continue to make a strong contribution to the Western Australian and Australian economies at a very challenging time,” he added.