WA miners issue ebola alerts
WA miners issue ebola alerts

Perth-based mining companies with operations in West Africa are educating workers and quarantining visitors as the deadly ebola virus grips the region.

Borders have been closed, flight routes cancelled and schools shut down in recent days as West Africa deals with the worst outbreak of the virus in recorded history.

It comes as WA Health Department officials met their interstate counterparts to discuss the possibility of the disease reaching Australia. A department spokeswoman said that even if a case of ebola was diagnosed in WA, the State's medical standards would render the risk of transmission "very low".

Perth gold exploration company Perseus Mining has a mine in Ghana and interests in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso.

Chief executive Jeff Quartermaine was in West Africa last week discussing a plan to quarantine visitors from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

"We discussed contacting our suppliers and asking them not to bring people on to our site that had been into any of those countries within the last 20 days," he said.

Mr Quartermaine said the 1300 employees at the Edikan Gold Mine were regularly briefed on the outbreak.

Perth resources company Resolute Mining operates the Syama gold project in Mali, about 250km from the Guinea border.

Chief executive Peter Sullivan said the mine's 1000 workers, including about 50 expatriates, were well aware of ebola's symptoms and transmission risks.

Another Perth-based gold miner in Mali, Papillon Resources, was keeping its workers up-to-date through on-site medical provider International SOS.

Chief executive Mark Connelly said operations at the Fekola gold mine were unaffected.

Operations at Gryphon Minerals' Banfora gold project in Burkina Faso were also unaffected, but chief operating officer Steven Zaninovich said the Perth-based company was treading carefully.

"It's a very real thing and we're treating it with the respect it needs," he said.

AngloGold Ashanti, which runs the Sunrise Dam and Tropicana gold mines in WA, has set up an "intense communications and education program" at its Siguiri gold mine in Guinea.

In April, Rio Tinto donated $US100,000 to the World Health Organisation to help fight the outbreak in Guinea.

The West Australian

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