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…company refutes Labour Minister’s statements; seeks clarity
Management of Aurora Gold Mines Inc. (AGM) has refuted statements attributed to Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton which suggest that several of its staff had contracted the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to the Sunday Stabroek article “Labour Minister to visit Troy, AGM to inspect working conditions…following reports of COVID cases” published on November 22, 2020, the Minister said 17 of the AGM employees tested positive. The Minister said the cases were detected after 112 employees had been tested.
“These tests were only done because the employees had to depart the country but now it raises the question of the working conditions there [at AGM] and how these workers have been working during COVID-19,” Stabroek News quoted the Minister as saying.
However, the Zijin-owned company denied the statement. “That is not true,” said AGM General Manager Victor Wu. Wu has called on the Minister of Labour to clarify his statements as published in the Stabroek News as they have serious repercussions on the morale of his company’s workforce and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Director of Corporate Office and Governance, Peter Benny noted that AGM has implemented several stringent measures and controls such as temperature testing, oxygen test, social distancing and the wearing of masks and hands washing at all its locations.
Benny said: “There is social distancing in the lunchrooms and mess hall. The playground, gyms and places of recreation have all been closed…of the 24 Chinese working with AGM and the 26 working with Sinohydro, none of them has been tested positive nor has any of our employees, whether it is at Aurora, or the Georgetown Office, or Buckhall.”
Additionally, AGM said it has noted the Minister’s statements about companies treating employees who display COVID-19 symptoms for malaria and typhoid, but the statement does not apply to the mining company.
Benny noted that the Company has in its employ, three full-time medical doctors and the Company is known for having one of the best screening practices for malaria. “The company looks forward to the minister’s visit at its locations,” AGM Inc. stated.
Minister Hamilton is scheduled to visit the company on Monday.