Response to COVID-19
“The health and safety of our workers and the local communities within which we operate remains our highest priority during this challenging period. Petropavlovsk continues to maintain open dialogue with the authorities to monitor the situation and ensure the Company is abiding by all measures and restrictions.”
Dr Pavel Maslovskiy, Chief Executive Officer
Health and safety update
As of 19 May 2020, none of Petropavlovsk’s employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
There have been very few cases registered in the Amur region which is a sparsely populated area roughly equivalent to half the size of France.
Petropavlovsk’s mining operations and POX Hub are naturally isolated and away from population centres, and the Group has implemented measures in each operating jurisdiction to meet Government guidelines which are appropriate to the specific needs of each location, including its head offices.
High-level management actions taken include:
- An emergency response team has been formed to limit the spread COVID-19 at the Group’s Companies. Members of the response team will work in co-operation with local authorities, when and if, required;
- The response team includes representatives from each of the Group’s businesses in Russia, and coordinators have been appointed at each location who are responsible for preventative and counteractive measures; and
- Group business travel has been restricted and the Company’s Moscow and London offices have been closed until further notice, with written permission required to enter buildings.
Employee and community actions taken include:
- Mine shift patterns have been adjusted to lower the frequency of new teams arriving onsite;
- Before commencing each shift, employees and contractors are required to undertake 14 days quarantine in four purpose-built camps;
- Medical infra-red thermometers are used daily to take the temperature of employees;
- Designated isolation zones have been set up to house any individuals showing flu-like symptoms;
- In addition to the recommended hygiene measures, a comprehensive site awareness campaign is being carried out; and
- Awareness programmes targeting the local community have also been put in place, and the Company is supporting local businesses and the community through the distribution of masks and hand sanitisers.
- In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Russian Government has been introducing a wide range of measures including non-work period (from which Petropavlovsk is exempt as a continuous process organisation). It has also expanded the authority of regional heads to set further specific measures relevant for their regions;
- While the non-work period was officially lifted by the Federal government, most regional authorities are maintaining the restrictions;
- Other measures include certain tax, credit and reporting holidays which are of benefit to certain suppliers to the Group’s business; and
- Petropavlovsk has been included in the most recently revised Federal list of Russia’s systemically important companies. Additionally, the JSC Pokrovskiy Mine (including Pioneer), LLC Albynskiy Rudnik (Albyn) and LLC Malomirskiy Rudnik (Malomir) companies were all identified as being strategically important to the Amur Region. This entails more stringent oversight by the Federal authorities and local Ministry of Economic Development as well as the executive branch of local government, and the Company believes this reduces the risk of business interruption.
Logistics and sales update
- The Company continues to monitor its supply chain and is putting in place all necessary precautions to ensure business continuity;
- While the Central Bank of Russia has temporarily suspended gold purchases, commercial banks in Russia continue to buy gold bullion and the Company continues to sell gold through Russian commercial banks; and
- The Company also can export gold bullion and confirms that it has the necessary licences in place required to export gold for sale outside of Russia, and that it has shipped gold to the UK and Switzerland in April.
Pioneer flotation plant construction update
- Despite lockdown measures in place, all key equipment items necessary to complete construction of Petropavlovsk’s second flotation plant have now arrived in Russia, thus ensuring the project remains on track for Q4 2020 commissioning; and
- Once operating at full capacity, the new flotation plant at Pioneer will double the Group’s flotation capacity from 3.6 to 7.2Mtpa.