Since my last COVID-19 update we all continue to experience very different stages of the pandemic, depending on our locations.
In Western Australia, with no known community transmission cases, restrictions were eased further at the end of June, and more of our people are returning to work at our Perth headquarters over the next few weeks.
In Singapore and the UK, economies are re-opening in phases following extended lockdowns. In other parts of the world where we operate, case numbers are rising rapidly. Brazil is seeing a daily increase in the number of infections, cases are increasing across all provinces in South Africa, and in Arizona, which is home to our Hermosa project, there has been a significant spike in cases since the easing of lockdown restrictions. Cases are also increasing in both Mozambique and Colombia, and we’ve seen restrictions in those countries extended.
The hotspots around the world are a clear reminder that for now, COVID-19 is here to stay. We can’t afford to be complacent. While many domestic and international borders are closed, the work we are doing now to stay safe will continue to protect us when borders reopen.
Our teams continue to be vigilant about following our COVID-19 control measures as they apply to their locations, and I am incredibly proud of how everyone has come together to support each other through these challenging times.
Wherever you are in the world, please stay safe and well.
As we respond to COVID-19 our focus remains on keeping our people safe and well, maintaining reliable operations and supporting our communities.
We have taken the first steps to minimise the impact on our business. We have acted to protect our strong financial position, reducing capital and exploration expenditure, suspending our on-market share buy-back and commencing a group wide review aimed at delivering a reduction in controllable costs.
We have entered this period of volatility with a strong balance sheet. With the actions we are taking, the fact we have no term debt, and our access to an undrawn US$1.5B revolving credit facility, we're in a strong position to weather the uncertainty.
To position ourselves to emerge strongly on the other side, we continue our work to reshape and improve our portfolio, forming the Ambler Metals Joint Venture, progressing the sale of South Africa Energy Coal and maintaining momentum at Hermosa.
Maintaining safe and reliable operations is important for all our stakeholders and we continue to implement social distancing practices, enhanced hygiene measures, health checks and new ways of working.
This will be a long journey for everyone, including our host communities, and we will work tirelessly with them to combat COVID-19. We’ve established a South32 Global Community Investment Fund, contributing US$7 million to the areas that need it most. So far our support has included provision of water, essential hygiene and medical supplies, public health awareness and education campaigns, building capacity in local health care systems and supporting those who are unable to access critical goods and services. We have also donated to the Solidarity Fund in South Africa and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Foodbank and Lifeline in Australia.
Our teams are working hard to minimise the risks presented by COVID-19.
Our response is built around three areas – keeping our people safe and well, maintaining safe and reliable operations, and supporting our communities.
Here’s some of the measures we’ve implemented to ensure our workforce remains well:
Increased social distancing
Increased site surveillance and hygiene measures
Identifying and protecting high-risk people
Here’s some of the ways we’re supporting our communities and suppliers:
Supporting our communities
Supporting our suppliers
We continue to provide regular updates to our workforce and are aligning our actions with advice from governments and health authorities.
These are testing times for us all, and never have our values of care and togetherness been more important.
As the impact of COVID-19 spreads around the world, we continue to monitor the situation and prepare for the period ahead. Our focus remains on protecting our people, supporting the communities we’re part of and ensuring the resilience of our business.
We are providing regular updates to our employees and contractors and aligning our actions with advice from governments and health authorities.
Offices and Operations
We all have a role to play in this challenging time, and we continue to live our values of care and togetherness as we support each other through these uncertain times.