PHILEX MINING Corp. temporarily suspended its underground operations on Oct. 23 and 24 to mitigate community transmission after several of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Monday, Philex Mining said that after conducting mass testing, it recorded 26 COVID-19 positive cases in its Pacdal mine site as of Oct. 23.

Most of the patients were working in underground operations.

According to the mining firm, some of the patients were quarantined in the medical and isolation facilities of its Pacdal mining site in Benguet while other employees were transferred to Baguio General Hospital.

Philex Mining said it had started to perform contract tracing procedures to determine employees and their family members who were in possible close contact with the COVID-19 patients.

The company added that it plans to finish the mass testing of its 1,000 personnel who may be exposed.

“Additional isolation and quarantine facilities are being readied for any eventualities,” Philex Mining said in the disclosure.

To prevent the spread of the virus, Philex Mining has implemented health measures in its mine site such as the wearing of face masks and face shields, social distancing and implementation of 24-hour curfew, disinfection activities, and strict inspection at its main gate.

Meanwhile, the mining company said it was too early to declare the potential impact of the event to its operations and financial results.

Philex Mining added that it planned to resume its mining operations by Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, shares in Philex Mining at the stock exchange rose 0.18% or P0.01 to close at P5.61 each. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave