Rio Tinto worker tests positive to COVID-19
It is understood the worker self-isolated after feeling unwell and later returned a positive result, prompting Queensland Health to carry out contract tracing.
Queensland Health is satisfied that it is unlikely the individual was infectious during their time in Weipa, as the illness began several days after they had left town.
Rio Tinto did not provide official comment on the case today, but recently moved to reassure people in the Weipa region of the steps it is taking to keep employees and local communities safe.
General manager of Weipa operations Brad Welsh, in a letter to the local community, said FIFO contractors had been relocated to Weipa for a period of at least six months to reduce the risk of transmission.
“We have converted the vast majority of roles to being locally based for a period of at least six months to reduce the risk of transmission whilst supporting operations and employment to safely continue,” he wrote.
“We understand this goes beyond the legal requirements and is disruptive to contractors but our management team made the decision to reduce the risk to our communities and numbers of vulnerable people in the Western Cape.”
Rio Tinto Weipa Operations has also deferred a number of capital projects until 2021 to minimise the risk of transmission through the contractor workforce.
The company is redirecting $250,000 of its Western Cape Community Development Fund to support COVID-19 specific initiatives linked to health, local business support and community mental health initiatives.