Rio Tinto pledges $25 million to support fight against COVID-19; BHP $8 million plan to support health network in Chile
Rio Tinto announced that it will provide $25 million in additional funding to support communities around the world in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a press release on March 30, Rio Tinto chief executive J-S Jacques said “COVID-19 is a human tragedy and we all have to play our part as the pandemic spreads. Rio Tinto’s first priority remains the health and safety of all of our employees and communities. During these uncertain times, we continue to deliver products to our customers supported by our global sales and marketing teams.
“We have taken extensive measures across the business to help protect our people and communities, and have increased these as the pandemic spreads, in line with guidance or directives from governments and advice from international health organizations on best practice.
“At this point in time, most of our assets continue to operate, with health and safety as a first priority, and I am proud of the way our employees have risen to the challenge to keep themselves, their colleagues and communities safe. There are many examples of our operational teams continuing to run their businesses as they provide support to local communities, from manufacturing hand sanitiser, to giving protective equipment to hospitals and funding local community response initiatives. In order to support global grassroots community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery, we are pledging a further $25 million. This takes our total estimated voluntary global community contributions to around $60 million for 2020.
“For us the focus is to maintain a business as usual approach with many safeguards, at a very unusual time. We are not at all complacent. Safety and health comes first as we keep delivering for our customers, our host governments and communities.”
BHP, has also launched plans to financially support the fight against COVID-19 in Chile with $8 million dedicated to the cause. BHP and the Medical Faculty of Universidad Católica have combined efforts with the immediate objective of raising the testing capacity and strengthening the Familiar Health Centers of the South East Area of the Metropolitan Region, as well as Antofagasta and Tarapacá.
The plan includes an early detection program through rapid testing, in support of Primary Attention Centers (this includes 150,000 rapid test for detecting the virus). This system includes 10 units for sampling, with mobile tents and permanent units; expansion of laboratory capacity, including the purchasing of new analysis equipment to maximize the speed for processing tests. Results will be delivered to patients in 24 hours; community surveillance for cases that test positive and their contacts, based at Primary Attention Centers and telemedicine and a 24/7 call center for identifying potential cases.
Daniel Malchuk, president, Operations at Minerals Americas, said, “This plan shows our commitment and our profound belief that we should work together to face the difficult times we are going through.”