Managing Director and chief executive officer John Welborn said that exceptional circumstances require an exceptional response:
He said: “The safety of our people is and will always be a Resolute priority.
“We do not have any cases of COVID-19 among our workforce in Australia and Africa and are implementing processes to ensure we limit the risks of infection.
“All non-essential travel has been suspended, both domestically and internationally, and we are following World Health Organisation guidelines for isolation and mitigation.
“Strict hygiene measures and social distancing protocols have been implemented at all sites and company locations.”
Welborn said that keeping the company’s mines running is critically important for employment, local communities, and the national economies of the countries where Resolute operates.
He said: “Personnel at our corporate offices in Perth and London are working remotely.
“At Syama and Mako, we are limiting the numbers of people working while maintaining full production.”
Syama Gold Mine
Mining and processing operations are continuing as normal at the Syama Gold Mine in Mali (Syama) and Mako Gold Mine in Senegal (Mako).
At Syama, underground mining and haulage is performing to expectations and the sulphide processing circuit is fully operational.
Open pit oxide mining operations are continuing at Tabakoroni with haulage and processing tracking to plan.
Exploration activity continues at Syama without interruption and three drill rigs are currently active with exploration drilling focused on expanding the Tabakoroni underground resource and extending oxide resources at Tabakoroni and the Syama northern satellite deposits.
Mako, Ravenswood and Bibiani
At Mako, mining and processing operations are continuing with gold production being achieved using a reduced workforce.
The Ravenswood Gold Mine in Queensland (Ravenswood) is continuing to process stockpiled material while preparing for completion of the sale of the mine which is expected to settle on or around 31 March 2020.
At the Bibiani Gold Mine in Ghana (Bibiani), existing care and maintenance activities are continuing without interruption.
The company has not amended current production or cost guidance in response to COVID-19.
Unique challenges for Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic poses unique risks and challenges to global mining companies operating in Africa.
However, Resolute believes it has the regional experience and robust foundations across the business to sustain operations, including:
- Ore Stockpiles at Syama, Mako, and Ravenswood providing operational flexibility to maintain gold production should Resolute’s future response to an escalation of COVID-19 require a period of reduced mining activity,
- Locally based workforces for Syama, Mako, Ravenswood, and Bibiani workforces with sufficient staffing arrangements to maintain operations during the expected period of international travel restrictions related to COVID-19,
- Robust supply lines to all mine sites, on-site fuel storage and consumables, as well as strong regional relationships with African logistics partners to support continuity of fuel supply,
- Regional experience, having successfully operated in Africa for more than 25 years and facing various supply chain and security challenges including the 2012 coup d'État and the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic,
- Collaboration with host governments in Mali, Senegal and Ghana; Australian diplomatic agencies in Africa; industry groups; and peer companies to collaborate on operational logistics and manage the impacts of the pandemic for the mining industry in West Africa,
- Resilience with significant investments in security and health infrastructure, operational support capacity, government relations, and community development supports staff in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and
- Agility by continuously monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 and adapting the company’s response accordingly.
Welborn said the company is working closely with employees, contractors and stakeholders, including host governments, to safeguard operations.
He said: “The challenges presented by COVID-19 continue to change on a daily basis.
“The commitment of our people to maintain production is commendable and consistent with how Resolute responds to challenges.
“We are well supported by our logistics partners and remain confident in our key supply chains including fuel, food and product shipment.
“Further operational changes will be made where necessary in response to the global pandemic.
“We will remain Resolute, and are focused on keeping our people safe, and wherever possible keeping our mills running to produce gold".
Commited to continuity
Resolute’s corporate offices in Perth and London are following the applicable local guidance with staff operating remotely using technology solutions.
A range of additional measures and safeguards are in place to mitigate the spread of infection amongst the workforce and to provide a platform for business continuity.
Resolute has completed refinancing following first drawdown under the company’s new US$300 million flexible low-cost syndicated loan facility on 25 March 2020.
The first drawdown under the facility has been used to refinance the existing senior debt and completely repay the project loan over the Mako Gold Mine.