BY STEVE FISCOR PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has up-ended everyday life for everyone as it spreads throughout the world. Mining Media International (MMI) publishes Coal Age and it has taken the necessary precautions to keep day-to-day business running while practicing social distancing and constantly monitoring the situation.

As of press time, the U.S. coal industry had announced only a few small closures. The mines and power plants are considered essential by the Department of Homeland Security. That being said, the mining industry as a whole has heard many announcements and MMI has posted them on Engineering & Mining Journal’s website www.e-mj.com. Long story short, the same overall situation exists for mining worldwide, mines continue to operate except for those in high-risk areas that are complying with regional policies.

Fortunately for coal miners and their families, most operations are located in remote locations, which helps as far as isolation. A prime example is West Virginia, which was the lone virus-free hold-out among the states as COVID-19 spread throughout the US. The mines are no longer allowing outside visitors. Similar to most businesses, they have response plans in place and they are monitoring the situation. They are increasing stock levels for key supplies and equipment and are looking at alternative suppliers and supply routes. All non-essential travel has been suspended.

In Australia, BHP made a bold move announcing plans to hire 1,500 additional people to support its workforce operating across the country. BHP Acting Minerals Australia President Edgar Basto said supporting people, communities and partners, safely, is the highest priority. “As part of BHP’s social distancing measures, we are introducing more small teams with critical skills to work dynamically across different shifts,” he said. “The government has said that resources industry is vital in Australia’s response to the global pandemic.

During the weeks and months of isolation ahead, coal mining and processing professionals can continue to rely on Coal Age to deliver much needed information. We can quickly change your subscription from the office to your home if necessary. Send an Email to: subscriptions@coalage.com. Readers should check CoalAge.com periodically for updates. Above all, take care, stay safe and be kind.