Mining companies rush to shield indigenous communities from coronavirus

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Big mining companies that rely on indigenous workforces or operate near remote communities have acted fast to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a public health crisis that could damage their reputations.

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Big mining companies that rely on indigenous workforces or operate near remote communities have acted fast to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a public health crisis that could damage their reputations.

“We tried to close (the mine) down altogether but we don’t have any legal means to do that,” Michano said. “The province declares it an essential service so they can do what they want.”

For some indigenous workers, stopping work is not an option. The Tahltan First Nation in Canada’s British Columbia province opted to work with Australia’s Newcrest Mining (NCM.AX) to keep the Red Chris copper-gold mine open, said Chad Day,president of the Tahltan central government.

There were fears a shutdown would throw 120 locals out of work, exacerbating social problems, Day said. “It wasn’t an easy decision.”

Additional reporting by Moira Warburton and Jeff Lewis in Toronto, Simon Jessop in London and Ernest Scheyder; Editing by David Clarke


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Big mining companies that rely on indigenous workforces or operate near remote communities have acted fast to curb the spread of the coronavirus and avoid a public health crisis that could damage their reputations.

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