Saindak project operating despite Covid-19, says company chief

Updated 28 Jul 2020

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Mr Xuping said nearly 120 quarantine rooms were renovated in the old dormitory area, some 3km from the residential and the project area at Saindak.
 — Photo by Muhammad Akbar Notezai/File
Mr Xuping said nearly 120 quarantine rooms were renovated in the old dormitory area, some 3km from the residential and the project area at Saindak. — Photo by Muhammad Akbar Notezai/File

CHAGAI: MCC Resource Development Ltd (MRDL) chairman He Xuping has said that the Saindak copper-cum-gold project remains in operation despite the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement issued on Monday, he said that only half of the total Pakistani workforce, or less than 900 employees, were working on the project as there had been a severe shortage of personnel this year.

Mr Xuping said the company provided $30 to $105 additional allowance per month based on the employee’s consecutive working time at the project during the pandemic.

“The Saindak Project incorporates the mining, concentrating and smelting production. Even if one aspect of production runs into shortage of personnel, the whole project would be shut down. Once the project stops production, it cannot be predicted when it will resume the operation during the epidemic period.

A large number of Pakistani employees will lose their jobs, accompanied by the plunge of income,” Mr Xuping warned.

According to him, the MRDL is actively pushing the rotation work as from January about 600 employees went on vacation. Till now, 191 employees have returned to work, of which 109 were in healthy physical condition after remaining in quarantine. Around 55 people returned to Saindak every week, he explained.

He said the company had made tremendous efforts to prevent and control coronavirus in accordance with the requirement of Balochistan government.

“Since the end of Covid-19 is not yet known, and the project is in remote area with limited medical facilities, the company has formulated standard operating procedures for the employees returning to work as per standards of health department in Pakistan and ground realities in the MRDL,” he said.

Mr Xuping said nearly 120 quarantine rooms were renovated in the old dormitory area, some 3km from the residential and the project area at Saindak.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2020