Sepon Mine Free of COVID-19
September 23, 2021
Savannakhet Governor, Mr Santhiphap Phomvihane, visited Vilabouly District on 21 September to review measures to respond to the spread of COVID-19. During the visit, Vilabouly District Governor, Mr Khamphoui Sibounheuang, announced a decision to reclassify Sepon Project, operated by Lane Xang Minerals Limited (LXML), from a red to a yellow zone following confirmation of 17 days of zero infection. All villages in Vilabouly District have now been declared free of COVID-19 and some restrictions have been relaxed.
After identifying several positive COVID-19 cases with local transport contractors, Sepon Project put in place strict hygiene, quarantine, tracing and testing measures aligned with the Lao Government’s prevention orders to quickly identify the source of spread and isolate potential cases. The company immediately introduced a site lockdown and cooperated closely with authorities at the district, provincial, and central level as well as local contractors to prevent spread.
In total, 33 persons, including 25 contractors, and 8 LXML employees tested positive. All cases were linked to the original source of infection with transport contractors. People who tested positive were placed in approved treatment facilities and have now been discharged safely. After treatment, all of the positive cases also completed a further 14-days quarantine at a government quarantine center and 7 days at home.
Since the first cases were identified on 22 August, LXML has conducted 11,000 COVID-19 tests on LXML employees and contractors with no further positive cases.
Thanks to the support of Savannakhet Health Department, approximately 5,000 LXML contractors and employees (99% of the workforce) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A vaccination certificate is now compulsory for access to Sepon site, and in Vientiane and Savannakhet Offices. The company is following national quarantine and testing procedures.
LXML is committed to working closely in cooperation with the Lao Government to enhance capacity to prevent spread of COVID-19. LXML has provided COVID-19 test kits, equipment and financial support to Vilabouly District to establish a field hospital, and Savannakhet Province to upgrade quarantine facilities, as well as a PCR machine and associated equipment to support the province’s efforts to protect the population from COVID-19. To date, LXML has provided $US450,000 in support to the Lao Government for COVID-19 prevention and response efforts.
Since operations commenced in 2003, LXML has contributed over US$1.5 billion in direct revenue to the Lao Government, in additional to hundreds of millions of dollars in indirect benefits through community development, employment, training, and support for local business in Savannakhet Province and Lao PDR.