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  • Industry's resilience to again be on display

    THE Australian mining sector insists it is well-prepared for a local outbreak of COVID-19.
    Industry's resilience to again be on display Industry's resilience to again be on display Industry's resilience to again be on display Industry's resilience to again be on display Industry's resilience to again be on display

    The CME says FIFO workers aren't at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19

    KPMG Australia and global mining sector lead partner Trevor Hart said the mining industry would again show its resilience during tough times.

    "We're coming from an industry used to price cycles," Hart told reporters this week.

    "I've certainly seen a sector that responds really well to that."

    KPMG WA chairman Matt Wood said the firm had already had requests from clients for assistance to stress test strategic and financial modelling.

    "What I'm really impressed with is the level of thought, consideration and planning our clients are going through," he said.

    The industry had a scare this week when a Fortescue Metals Group worker presented with coronavirus symptoms after returning to site from overseas.

    A test for coronavirus came back negative.

    Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA CEO Paul Everingham said the industry was taking the coronavirus risk to its workers very seriously.

    The CME also had daily contact with the government.

    "We feel as an industry we're extremely well-placed and well-prepared and are probably the most risk-prepared industry in the world when it comes to crisis and emergency," Everingham told reporters yesterday.

    The CME will host an industry meeting in Perth today to discuss preparedness and response.

    Despite media reports, Everingham said it was not a crisis meeting.

    "The meeting is far from any form of crisis," he said.

    The meeting will be more about sharing information.

    "Some of our large members have really detailed business continuity plans," Everingham said.

    "Some of our smaller members don't have the resources for those sort of plans. They can share them so the industry can be uniform on how they approach it."

    Everingham denied fly-in, fly-out workers were more at risk of contracting COVID-19.

    "Fly-in, fly-out workers and resource workers are very unlikely to get the disease," he said.

    "I'm not concerned about any of the mine sites closing.

    "I have no fears for the mining sector slowing or putting off workers, nothing like that."

    While FMG has placed restrictions on some travel, Everingham noted it was in line with government guidelines and there was no need for more drastic measures.

    "Our borders are policed by the government, not mining companies," he said.

    Everingham said it was largely "business as usual".

    "Not a single shipment of any commodity to China has been turned away," he said.

    Everingham expects the economic impact of the virus to be "significant, but short-term".

    KPMG's Wood expects to have a better view within 3-6 months, but also forecast a V-shaped recovery.

    "It will continue to put the spotlight on miners to get the basics right," he said, specifying productivity and cost management.

    "This sort of macroeconomic environment lends itself to that."

    Wood said the economic impact would make it an even tougher market for juniors, but we could see more larger companies stepping in with funding or joint venture arrangements.

    "I think [the majors] will see it as a real opportunity."

     

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