In Resources

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan

Research Expanded To FIFO Workers Tracking Possible COVID-19

Victor P Taffa

  • Resources companies including Chevron, Woodside, Mineral Resources Ltd, Rio Tinto and BHP participating in research study to test workers for COVID-19
  • Research forms part of the DETECT program, a Western Australia-based population study focused on testing targeted groups of people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follows the launch of the program in Western Australia schools

McGowan Government is partnering with major resources companies and Western Australia’s leading researchers to roll out COVID-19 testing among fly-in fly-out (FIFO) mining and resources workers who do not have symptoms.

“With our State COVID-19 numbers continuing to be very encouraging, we are pleased to announce that testing of asymptomatic groups in the community is expanding.” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“Last week we announced our DETECT research program would commence with the testing of students and staff at 80 public schools, and now this study is being expanded to FIFO workers from some of our major mining companies.”

Testing among FIFO workers is the second pillar of the DETECT program, a joint initiative of the Department of Health and the Western Australia research community.

DETECT program will examine the prevalence of COVID-19 in key sectors of the Western Australia community. It will help to provide greater certainty around possible undetected transmission of the disease in the State.

Today’s announcement is the start of the DETECT FIFO project led by Curtin University and the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research. It will engage with mining companies who are supporting the screening of workers for COVID-19.

It is expected that nearly 30,000 tests will be conducted during the life of the project.

“While our number of COVID-19 cases is very low in Western Australia, we must not become complacent and should continue to adopt social distancing and good hand hygiene.” Minister for Health Roger Cook said.

“We are very pleased that industry is supporting and collaborating with this component of DETECT and that the Chamber of Minerals and Energy is in full support.”

DETECT FIFO project will be funded by industry and has been endorsed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy.

While there is no evidence of community spread of COVID-19, it is hoped the DETECT program will further assist in developing an even stronger evidence base on which to make policy decisions and ease restrictions.

DETECT schools’ program, to test in Western Australia schools, was launched on 1 May, 2020.

Resource Companies Participating In DETECT FIFO
AngloGold Ashanti Australia
BHP
Citic Pacific Mining
Chevron
Minara Resources
Mineral Resources Limited
Perenti Group
Regis Resources
Roy Hill
Rio Tinto
Woodside
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