The Cobre Panama company, of the Canadian First Quantum, which operates the largest open pit mine in the region, said this Saturday that it collaborates with the authorities in complying with sanitary protocols after one of its workers died and near a dozen tested positive for COVID-19.
The company indicated in a public statement, to which Efe had access, that the eviction of more than 2,000 who remained inside the mining company is almost complete after the temporary closure of operations and the establishment of a sanitary fence by the Ministry of Health. (Minsa).
The eviction is carried out jointly with the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (Mitradel) and the National Police (PN), and of these 2,000 1,200 workers have already been transferred.
Of these, 700 are already at home, while some 500 are quarantined in hotels that operate as hospitals in the central province of Coclé, where the mine operates.
The last step will be the transfer of some 800 collaborators, after they finish a preventive forty of 14 additional days inside the mine, decreed by the Minsa on Wednesday.
The company assured that of the more than 7,000 collaborators that Cobre Panamá currently has, the mine managed to avoid the entry of more than 4,200 before the implementation of the sanitary fence.
He stressed that the staff of the Mmisa, Mitradel, the majority mining union Utramipa and the management of Cobre Panama met this Friday to supervise the eviction plan for the next few days and to make the inspections of the disinfected places.
The company said that while the eviction is complete, it will increase prevention measures and protocols established by the authorities for quarantined collaborators, such as the renewal of hygiene and disinfection equipment in the evicted areas.
The manager of Cobre Panamá, Keith Green, stated that “Our statistics reveal that the protocols implemented (available on our website) have given good results.”
In addition, Green announced that more than 200 collaborators who are outside the mine coordinate “the delivery of almost half a million dollars in donations to the national government, which the company is contributing in solidarity to help Panama win the war against COVID-19 ”
Cobre Panamá also highlighted that “in order to maintain environmental safety standards that protect our neighboring communities and preserve mining equipment, it is essential to carry out some low-speed activities.”
The company clarified at the time that the deceased was a worker at one of his contractors who had flu-like symptoms, was evacuated from the facility, and his death occurred outside the mine.
The Industrial Union of Workers in the Construction of Mines and Mining Development (STM) has indicated that since March 20 it proposed the immediate suspension of operations.
Cobre Panamá is an open-pit mine with an investment of about $ 6.1 billion that began exporting copper concentrate last June, mainly to China.
Panama, which confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 9 last, is the country most affected by the disease in Central America: it accumulates 116 deaths and 4,210 infections.