Mining companies are joining forces, urging the global community to help fight Ebola in affected West African countries.
RENO (MINEWEB) – The Ebola outbreak in western African has prompted several mining companies, such as Vale, to suspend production and evacuate their expat staff as the epidemic has killed at least 2,100 people in five African countries.
However, other mining companies, such as Rio Tinto, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont and Randgold Resources, have worked to battle the epidemic.
Combatting the spread of the virus requires West African governments to work closely with international agencies, health service provides and mining companies, which now have a duty to think above and beyond Ebola, said Rokaje Akinkugbe, head of energy and natural resources coverage at FBN Capital in Lagos, Nigeria.
“…Mining companies have a role to play because there will definitely be a greater pullback on mine sites as the disease impacts the workforce. And for a mining companies, its workforce is essential to long-term survival,” Akinkugbe told Think Advisor.com
Mining operations in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have provided financial backing and increased sanitation for their employees to help fight the disease. Six mining companies have been involved in the emerging infectious disease risk mitigation project funded by USAID, including Freeport McMoRan, MMG Limited, Mawson West and Tiger Resources.
On Monday, the CEOs of 11 mining and related companies called on the international community to step up the fight against Ebola and welcomed President Obama’s statement on additional U.S. military support.
“Our companies have made long term commitments to these countries and their people and we intend to honor that commitment,” declared the CEOs of African Mining Services, ArcelorMittal, Aureus Mining, Dawnus Group, Golden Veroleum Liberia, Hummingbird Resources, Iamgold, London Mining, MonuRent, Newmont Mining and Randgold Resources.
“We have strong ties to hundreds of local communities that depend on our operations. Despite the challenging environment, we are continuing where possible with normal operations, with the health and safety of our employees being the absolute priority at all times,” said the executives. “We have enormous respect for the organizations and selfless individuals working to contain this outbreak and are committed to support them and the governments concerned to bring the epidemic to an end. As a group we are in regular dialogue with governments, NGOs, and other tasks forces involved to support their work.”
However, the executives stressed that a larger coordinated global effort was required. “The global community has a strong track record in responding to natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. We need a similar strength of resolve to tackle an epidemic that has the potential to cause great harm to this region.”
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