Mine site wastewater monitoring for rapid worker health assessments and remote communities protection
Project Number: P1252
Status: Seeking Expressions of Interest
Amira Program Manager: Adele Seymon
EOI for COVID-19 Early Warning System project
Amira Global is inviting sponsors to a project designed to safeguard the health of the Australian mining workforce and local communities through the early detection of COVID-19.
Project P1252 is a three-year collaborative program led by the universities of South Australia and Melbourne to provide leading indicators on the presence of COVID-19 in sewage on mine sites.
Amira Global Futures Programs Program Director Adele Seymon said the impact of suspensions and closures in the mining sector resulting from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 had been substantial.
Ms Seymon said a recent site shutdown in Asia Pacific due to COVID-19 in employees cost more than US$39.8m.
“The virus causing COVID-19 is here to stay and the current pandemic has shown that we need better surveillance of infections agents,” Ms Seymon said.
“We will be focusing on developing and implementing routine wastewater surveillance for best practice population health monitoring at mine site communities.
“The opportunity to have near real-time information on workforce COVID-19 health status and an early detection capability offers clear cost benefits.”
Project P1252 Mine site wastewater monitoring for rapid worker health assessments and remote communities protection will link into a nationwide sewage surveillance program for monitoring agents of concern to public health.
Similar project methodology has been successfully implemented in the United States of America, detecting COVID-19 at the University of Arizona.
“The monitoring of wastewater from the University’s campus dormitories allowed for early detection of coronavirus, which led to screening and isolation,” Ms Seymon said.
“Follow-up testing identified two COVID-19 positive individuals who were asymptomatic and would have otherwise rapidly transmitted the virus within the University community.”
Due to travel restrictions, P1252 will concentrate on Australian mine sites. However, sponsors will have information and outcomes applicable to the international mining community.
The expected benefits of sponsoring this project are:
- Capacity for unparalleled information on worker health status (focused on Covid-19 as exemplar disease agent) in near-real-time to assess risks to mine site operations and their adjacent communities, with the view to avoiding and/or minimising the impacts of worker health-related mine site closures
- A risk assessment and management approach to managing risks (financial, WHS/social) of infectious diseases to mine operations (where there are existing worker health risk management protocols and procedures in place, these will be augmented to include infectious disease risks)
- Field-deployable, semi-automated infrastructure and systems in place to collect, handle and ship representative mine site wastewater samples for subsequent analysis of various disease agents and human health markers.
Expressions of interest
For more information, please contact Adele Seymon or telephone +614 0326 9462. EOIs close on 19 October 2020.
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