Despite a scare at the Boggabri Mine on the weekend when an employee returned a positive COVID-19 test before two negative tests followed life in the region's coal mines has been business as usual despite the seven day lockdown.
At Boggabri the mine was shutdown and the employee placed in isolation until NSW Health gave the all clear following the two negative tests. This incident highlights how quickly the situation can change especially during the the latest Delta outbreak.
Protocols established during the first lockdowns in 2020 have been strengthen according to the region's biggest coal miner Glencore to allow continuing operations during current seven day lockdown.
Last Thursday the Hunter was placed into lock down for a week, bringing the region into the umbrella of "the toughest lockdown restrictions anywhere in Australia" in force for Sydney and the Central Coast.
Singleton and Muswellbrook Local Government Areas were included in the lockdown due to their 'connects' with the lower Hunter - a fact highlighted by the number of drive-in and drive our workers coming each day to work in the mines.
Mining is considered an essential service and operations will continue during the lockdown.
A spokesman for Glencore said the company has further strengthened protocols in place across its NSW coal operations and offices in response to the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
"Temperature testing, provision of hand sanitiser and cleaning products and social distancing have been maintained across our operations since the initial phase of COVID in early 2020," he said.
"Following the latest guidance from health authorities, wearing of masks in indoor areas is again mandatory at all sites; no visitors will be allowed at our NSW operations and offices unless essential; and only essential travel in regional NSW will be permitted.
"The protocols aim to ensure we can continue to support Government efforts to manage COVID by minimising the risks for our people, continuing to operate and maintaining support for local communities, as we were able to do throughout 2020.
"We are also supporting Government efforts to get people vaccinated."
More information about protocols in place at Glencore sites can be found at: https://www.glencore.com.au/media-and-insights/our-response-to-covid-19