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Tahltan Nation and Newcrest collaborate for Community Health and Safety

Press Release

The three Tahltan Nation governments (Tahltan Central Government, Iskut Band and Tahltan Band) and Newcrest have been meeting extensively and working closely together to prioritize the health and well-being of everyone at Red Chris and community members in the Tahltan Territory during these unprecedented times.

Mining has been deemed an essential service by the Province of British Columbia. In addition to measures Newcrest has already implemented that meet or exceed provincial requirements, the Tahltan Nation and Newcrest have agreed to an extensive package of further preventive measures. These actions seek to proactively protect and support communities, while allowing Red Chris JV to operate to ensure Tahltan members can support their families and communities during this challenging time. As a result of this collaborative effort, there have been no confirmed cases in the local communities or at Red Chris.

These new measures have the full endorsement of the Tahltan Nation and Newcrest. Transition Period

There will be a transition period where Red Chris employees who reside in the local communities of Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek will have the option to return home to their communities by accessing Newcrest’s “pandemic leave” (two weeks of special leave, which is equivalent to four weeks of calendar time, in addition to any other existing leave available). For those employees who are returning to Iskut, Dease Lake, and Telegraph Creek and who live with vulnerable family members, Red Chris will provide alternative accommodation options if requested.

This transition period is effective immediately.

New Measures Agreed by Tahltan Nation and Newcrest 1. Extended Roster

An extended roster provides two key benefits: 1) decreasing the frequency of crew changes (also reducing travel required) and 2) providing the workforce with a period of “isolation” that exceeds the incubation period of the virus, ensuring they can return to their homes without the requirement for further isolation.

Extended rosters present new challenges and risk that will need to be managed. In particular, we are considering additional measures that are needed to manage employee fatigue and to ensure a safe working environment. The risk analysis will balance the need to minimize any potential for virus transmission and the need to minimize fatigue across the extended roster. This may include rest days and other fatigue management measures.

Entry and exit from the mine site will be strictly controlled during this time.

Please be advised that the roster change will require regulatory endorsement/approval which is underway.

Newcrest has already limited the number of workers on-site and continues to review operational plans to further limit numbers of people on-site at any one time.

  1. Additional Medical Support in Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek

Newcrest will provide additional medical personnel in the three communities for the duration of this unprecedented emergency. The Iridia Medical team is working with the Emergency Management Team (EMT) health lead to coordinate with Northern Health Service to ensure additional services are being provided where they are needed most.

  1. Support with Groceries and Health Supplies

Newcrest will work with the Tahltan Nation to support the provision of basic groceries to the Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek communities. In addition, Newcrest will help source health and sanitary supplies pending availability and lead times. Feddie Louie, EMT Coordinator will work with the Newcrest logistics team to implement this important measure.

  1. TNDC will match Newcrest Commitments

Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC) will match Newcrest employee commitments. For other contractors who remain on -site at Red Chris, Newcrest will encourage these partners to apply the same conditions and benefits as those being made available to Newcrest employees.

  1. Joint Working Group

Red Chris will have a representative on the Tahltan Nation COVID-19 Emergency Management Team (TNCEMT) to contribute where appropriate and to keep the group informed of all relevant updates and/or changes at the mine site.

The Tahltan Nation and Newcrest will continue to monitor, evaluate, and evolve our plans to ensure the health and safety of everyone.

Statements

“It is a testament to the relationships and trust between our operation and the Tahltan Nation and communities that in these stressful periods we have been able to quickly work together and navigate this crisis effectively. We agree on the best path forward based on what we know at this stage and this is a thoughtful and staggered approach which can accommodate everybody as best we can.”

Mark Adams, Red Chris General Manager

“The challenges we are facing as a Nation due to the COVID-19 virus are unprecedented and we took everything into consideration when deciding the best path forward for the Tahltan people. Working alongside Newcrest ensures we have robust safety measures at the mine site, we can utilize their capacity to keep our communities safe, and our Tahltan workers and communities will not have to face a myriad of further challenges and safety risks that would follow if a massive layoff were to take place. Newcrest and Tahltan leadership will continue to work closely and collaboratively through this difficult time.”

Chad Norman Day, President Tahltan Central Government

“Tahltan leadership and Newcrest management have been working collaboratively to ensure that workers and our communities stay safe while operations continue at the Red Chris mine.”

Chief Rick McLean, Tahltan Band

“Working in partnership with Newcrest during this pandemic, to keep our workers and communities safe, will help prepare us further for any crisis in the future.”

Mark Adams
General Manager
Red Chris JV
Email: [email protected]

Gordon Infanti
Communications Director
Tahltan Central Government
Email: [email protected]

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