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COVID-19: latest updates for stakeholders

Tuesday 28 July 2020

Cross-border arrangements with Victoria strengthened from midnight - key changes for resources sector

Significantly reduced travel between South Australia and Victoria, modified arrangements for New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory; required information for travel exemption applications; support for temporary relocation for families; recommendations regarding maintenance shutdowns; and clarification regarding transiting Tasmanian travellers.

Previous updates for the resources sector

Managing the COVID-19 pandemic

The World Health Organisation has declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic with containment measures disrupting business activity around the world.

The Department for Energy and Mining (DEM) is well prepared to manage the response to this pandemic, relying on a SA Health strategy that was specifically prepared well in advance of the COVID-19 outbreak.

DEM's containment response will be continuously reviewed to remain consistent with updated Government advice and policy.

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Information for stakeholders

The Government of South Australia has identified the energy and mining sectors as key industries essential for the ongoing economic activity of the state. Accordingly, it is critical the Department for Energy and Mining continues to support these businesses to continue operations as far as practical in the current circumstances.

The department is liaising with our energy and mining stakeholders to understand their business continuity plans to avoid and minimise any disruption to the delivery of essential infrastructure and services to the South Australian community.

In line with public health advice, the Department for Energy and Mining is moving to electronic means of engagement within the agency and with our external stakeholders, and continues to keep the channels of communication open as the nationwide response to containing the COVID-19 virus evolves.

The high-level of cooperation the Department has experienced throughout the ongoing health emergency is appreciated and DEM's Chief Executive, Dr Paul Heithersay, will continue to keep the energy and mining resources sectors updated as new information comes to hand.

Updates for South Australia's resources sector

Date Update summary Full text of update
21 July 2020

Changes to cross-border travel restrictions including compulsory polymerise chain reaction (PCR) testing for people arriving in South Australia, close contact recording for Victorian FIFO workers, use of surgical face masks, and quarantine requirements for Victorian residents

9 July 2020

Emergency Management Direction regarding cross-border travel restrictions updated following escalation in community transmission of COVID-19 in part of Victoria, update on quarantine requirements and on permitted roads, and template for streamlining FIFO travel

19 June 2020

Key changes to the Cross Border Travel Direction (Number 7) and the relevance of these changes to the resources sector, particularly with regard to FIFO and DIDO workers

16 June 2020

State border restrictions for people travelling directly from Western Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania to be lifted at midnight 16 June 2020, report on the asymptomatic COVID-19 testing trial conducted at Adelaide Airport for inbound FIFO workers

12 June 2020

State's border restrictions to be lifted from Monday 20 July 2020 - impact for the mining, oil, gas, energy and METS sectors

1 May 2020

Planning for maintenance shutdowns, process for importing international expertise if required for emergency management, swab testing of FIFO workforces, the COVIDSafe app, and thoughts on the road to economic recovery

14 May 2020

COVID-19 impact and actions required regarding conduct of mineral exploration, working with native title groups, Cross-Border Travel Direction, COVID-19 tesing, South Australia's infrastructure stragegy and changes to energy legislation

15 April 2020

SA Health briefing for the resources industry
4 April 2020

Updates on:

  • Critical work and reduced staff movements
  • Submission of plans to SA Health
  • Fee relief under the Mining and Petroleum Acts
  • FIFO/DIDO workers returning to South Australia
  • Evidence for workers in transit
  • Quarantine for inbound workers
  • Adelaide Airport exposures
  • Clarity for mineral explorers
3 April 2020

South Australian Government defers costs linked to exploration and licence fees for the minerals and petroleum sectors with the announcement of:

  • an immediate deferral of mineral exploration licence fees and annual petroleum and geothermal licence fees due in the next six months (now not due until 31 December 2020)
  • a 12-month waiver of committed expenditure for all mineral exploration holders
  • an expansion of allowable expenditures towards minimum petroleum retention licence requirements during a period of low oil prices

Read full details in the Minister for Energy and Mining's media release: Fee relief for the South Australian resources sector

1 April 2020

DEM Chief Executive outlines recommended industry response to the cross-travel directions and social distancing policies rolled out in South Australia

Download the Chief Executive's update for energy and mining resources sectors (PDF)

29 March 2020 Non-essential movements resulting in unnecessary exposure pathways to stop
28 March 2020 Quarantine restrictions on international travellers into South Australia
27 March 2020 Cross-border travel arrangements - information from Dr Paul Heithersay, Chief Executive, Department for Energy and Mining
27 March 2020 Cross-border travel arrangements - advice for Cooper Eromanga Basin Operators from South Australian Department for Energy and Mining and Queensland Gas Inspectorate
24 March 2020 Measures for controlling COVID-19 transmission

Managing supply risks - guidance and tools for resource companies

The Minerals Council of Australia and the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy and their member companies have developed two documents for use by the resources sector to further promote the operationalising of national protocols as they navigate the restrictions required to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Managing Supply Risks document provides practical guidance to resource companies to ensure supply risks to business critical services and products are identified, assessed and managed. The Essential Supplier Letter template is a tool for companies to use if suppliers seek or require confirmation of their 'essential status' to the resources industry.

The Department for Energy and Mining encourages essential industries in South Australia to use the guide and template letter to assist state authorities to maintain the restrictions while minimising the disruption to critical business operations.

More information is available from the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) website

Access to South Australia Drill Core Reference Library

In line with the Department for Energy and Mining's containment response to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, the Drill Core reference Library will be closed until further notice.

Requests for core inspections will not be accepted until further notice. Any inspections that have been been booked will need to be cancelled or postponed, and companies will be advised when restrictions are no longer in place.

Keeping our staff and the working environment safe

All DEM employees are taking measures to reduce potential exposure to the virus and to maintain the health and wellbeing of the department's staff and their families.

These measures include:

  • Implementing staff working from home rosters while ensuring critical functions are maintained
  • Guidance on appropriate social distancing, limiting meeting room capacities and providing alternatives to face-to-face meetings using Skype for Business and Microsoft teams
  • Cancellation of all business travel
  • An obligation for employees to report any recent travel and the results of any testing for COVID-19
  • Adopting a self-isolation policy following SA Health guidelines
  • Increasing daily cleaning services at our offices including meeting room tables, IT equipment, light switches, door handles and lift buttons and other high use surfaces
  • Encouraging good hygiene practices, including the provision of hand sanitiser and cleaning agents throughout the offices

Conferences and events

Global concerns about the pandemic and the disruption to travel due to self-isolation policies has prompted DEM to review its role in organising and participating in conferences and events.

Copper to the World 2020 Conference

DEM has postponed the June 2020 conference and masterclass.

Register here to receive updates about future conference developments.

More information

SA Health

Updates, advice and information for South Australians about COVID-19 can be found on SA Health's:

South Australian Government

State-based COVID-19 information can be accessed from:

  • a dedicated website sa.gov.au/covid-19 (includes Emergency Declaration and directions, business information including financial support, and frequently asked questions)
  • the South Australia COVID-19 Information Line 1800 253 787 (open 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, 7 days a week)

Department for Energy and Mining

If you have any queries regarding the work of the Department in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak please email DEM.corporateservices@sa.gov.au