Throughout 2020, the global health crisis posed by COVID-19 has challenged companies, families, communities and governments. The scope and severity of this pandemic has required everyone at SSR to step up and do our part, adapt to very different living and operating scenarios to try and safely navigate the impacts posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At SSR our top priority throughout these unprecedented times has been to safeguard the health and well-being of our people and the communities we operate in, which includes taking the necessary actions to protect our business.
As a proud mining resource Company, SSR has committed to putting in place the necessary measures to protect our workers and communities, and to playing a role in the local mobilization to safeguard against COVID-19
Our Response to Managing the Impacts of COVID-19
Our commitment to employee, contractor and community health and welfare, coupled with robust risk management systems helped to buffer the impact of COVID-19. We have implemented extensive measures across our operations and projects to prevent transmission, provide support to employees and local communities, and maintain operations to the extent possible. In all aspects of our response to COVID-19, we have partnered with governments and public health authorities in each jurisdiction where we operate to augment and support their responses. As we enter a new phase of the global pandemic, we have provided education on the benefits of vaccination and provided opportunities for our employees to become vaccinated where available.
Supporting our Employees and Their Families
Maintaining Employment: We are focused on operating safely and responsibly maintaining employment and economic activity to the extent possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing Feedback and Providing Resources: We provide regular updates to employees on preventative measures, global trends, COVID-19 symptoms, Personal Protective Equipment to protecting themselves and others, and to self-assessment tools.
Support During Temporary Shutdowns/Slowdown: to reduce risk of transmission and support efforts to combat COVID-19 in various jurisdictions, we worked in close collaboration with local governments to implement temporarily shutdowns where necessary and reduced crew sizes at our operations. In many cases, employees in these jurisdictions continued to be paid during this period.
Employee and Family Assistance: Our Employee and Family Assistance Programs ensure all employees, and their families have immediate and confidential support services, crisis counselling support and/or referrals to community resources
Supporting our Safe Operations
As of the publication of this report, we continue to safely operate, with measures in place for preventing transmission, in line with guidance from local health and government authorities. On March 25, 2020 Seabee was voluntarily placed into temporary care and maintenance as a precautionary measure. Through this period, employees maintained the mine in a state of operational readiness until June 2020 when a phased restart of the operation commenced. On March 20, 2020, Puna temporarily suspended operations as a result of government-mandated restrictions. Subsequently, the Government of Argentina reinstated mining as an essential business activity. During the second quarter of 2020, a phased restart complying with government regulations and guidelines was implemented with the recommencement of mining, hauling and milling operations. During the third quarter of 2020, COVID-19 infection rates in the Province of Jujuy escalated, resulting in further interruptions to operations. In September, operations were suspended in order to manage camp occupancy, conduct testing and reduce the risk of transmission. All activities resumed at expected levels by the beginning of October 2020.
Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability: SSR’s activities continue to be underpinned by our focus on sustainability governance and leadership. Throughout the current global health crisis SSR has remained committed to sustainability business practices in all aspects of our activities, including updating the company-wide policies and commitments. We remain committed to implementing our updated sustainability goals, including our objective of establish an action plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
Prevention and Detection: Measures implemented at SSR offices and operations include reduced crew sizes, staggering shift start times, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including frequent disinfecting of employee buses and work areas, pre-screening all contractors and external visitors to site for risk factors and symptoms. Option of tele remote work where feasible, requiring employees who show symptoms or are in close contact with someone with symptoms to work from home.
Supporting the Communities Where we Operate
Resilient Communities: our employees live and work in vibrant communities. Everywhere we operate, we have implemented wide-ranging measures to protect the health and well-being of our employees, their families and their communities.
COVID-19 Fund: we have established a COVID-19 Community Support Fund to provide effective and relevant support in each of our various communities. The Fund has committed to community initiatives where support is most needed. When helping local teams determine which initiatives to support, the response fund focuses on four key areas: community health, food security, economic resilience and vulnerable populations.
Çöpler Supports Public Health: Çöpler contributed to local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic by donating medical equipment to the local public hospitals in Iliç and Erzincan.
Marigold Supports Mental Health: Marigold focused on supporting mental health by supporting “The Family Support Center”, a primary provider of mental health services in Winnemucca and the surrounding communities. Marigold donated funds to FSC which was used to establish their digital infrastructure to provide online services. Marigold also provided a donation to Humboldt County to launch a wellness information and outreach program in the local communities.
Seabee Donates Food and Supplies: Seabee has made donations to support various Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan, including provisioning of non-perishables to the Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.
Puna Partnership: In Argentina, Puna has partnered with the Argentina Mining Association (CAEM) in a joint mining-industry response to provide support during the COVID-19 pandemic period. CAEM have donated food hampers to help support local communities and medical supplies and test kits to help contain the spread of the virus in the area.
SSR’s activities continue to be underpinned by our focus on sustainability governance and leadership. Throughout the current global health crisis SSR has remained committed to sustainability business practices in all aspects of our activities.