May 18, 2020 / 8:20 AM / 12 days ago

Rio Tinto to reopen Western Australian offices from June 2

MELBOURNE, May 18 (Reuters) - The world’s top iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd will reopen its offices in Perth from June 2, as the state of Western Australia begins to slowly ramp up for business following nearly two months of coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Rio said the relaxation was in line with the state government’s moves, and that prior to returning to work, staff would be required to take a pre-entry health questionnaire and temperature checks among other measures.

It will also review rosters for fly in and fly out (FIFO) workers, with a view to reverting to typical schedules in coming weeks, it said, given the low risks of community transmission. An example of a typical FIFO schedule would be eight days on and six days off.

Australia’s iron ore giants told workers in late March that they would need to lengthen their on site shifts to two weeks on and two weeks off, as miners battled to cut staff movement and reduce transmission risks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed the way we run our business and Rio Tinto made significant changes across our operations to protect our people and the communities where we operate,” said Rio Tinto Iron Ore chief executive Chris Salisbury in a statement.

Australia’s states and territories are beginning to allow more public activity under a three-step government plan after two months of shutdowns that officials have credited with keeping the country’s exposure to the pandemic relatively low.

In Perth, the capital of Australia iron ore producing state, people can now visit restaurants, cafes and bars which are open to up to 20 customers, provided social distancing rules are in place.

Western Australia saw just two new cases reported over the weekend. The country has seen a little over 7,000 cases and 99 deaths. (Reporting by Melanie Burton, editing by Louise Heavens)

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