- West Australian nickel miners, Panoramic Resources (PAN) has put its Savannah nickel mine on hold due to COVID-19’s continued impact to operations
- From late March, the company thought it would be able to handle the restrictions, but now it has been forced to temporarily close the mine
- While other WA mines have had exemptions from movement measures, the Kimberley region has strict rules in place to stop the spread of the virus in vulnerable aboriginal communities
- Managing Director Victor Rajasooriar says the decision was difficult to make but was ultimately the right one
- Panoramic shares have been suspended, with last trade at 14¢ per share
West Australian nickel miners, Panoramic Resources (PAN) has put its Savannah nickel mine on hold due to COVID-19’s continued impact to operations.
From late March, the company thought it would be able to handle the restrictions, but now it has been forced to temporarily close the mine.
“There are currently no cases of COVID-19 reported at the Savannah Nickel Mine. However, the situation is rapidly evolving and has changed materially since the company provided its 27 March 2020 COVID-19 update,” the company said.
“In particular, the pandemic is adversely impacting operations, including transportation, availability and cost of personnel, equipment and supplies at the site … particularly given the heightened sensitivity within the Kimberley region and communities close to the operation,” it added.
Most WA mines have put measures in place to increase the length of work shifts and decrease the number of people moving around the state. However, the remote Kimberley has tougher rules because of fears the virus could infect vulnerable indigenous communities.
Currently, there are 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Kimberley. Authorities are fearful that any outbreak in the remote regions could have a terrible and lasting impact.
The shutdown will affect around 120 workers, including staff from its underground mining contractor, Barminco, and a smaller group of Panoramic employees.
Panoramic said this suspension will help save cash while the company works towards reviewing its funding structure for when the mine’s operations commence.
Managing Director Victor Rajasooriar says this has been a difficult decision but the right one.
“We believe that it will protect the welfare of our staff and contractors, and the surrounding communities, as well as target the preservation of shareholder value through these difficult times,” he said.
“We greatly appreciate the support of all our stakeholders through this period in what is an incredibly challenging environment for them also,” he added.
Panoramic shares have been suspended, with last trade at 14¢ per share.