A SUBSIDIARY of mining firm Nickel Asia Corp. has temporarily stopped its operations after several of its employees have tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In a stock exchange disclosure on Wednesday, Nickel Asia said its Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC) suspended activities in its mine site in Surigao del Norte on Oct. 27 up to Nov. 10 to mitigate the spread of the virus among its employees and nearby communities.

So far, the company said that 19 employees had tested positive for COVID-19 after it conducted testing in its mine site.

HMC said it will continue to perform mass testing to its employees in the site, while additional isolation and quarantine facilities have been on standby.

“Infected employees will be managed and treated in accordance with the Department of Health (DoH) and mine site health and safety protocols. Contact tracing continues to be done in coordination with government authorities,” the disclosure said.

Further, HMC said it continues to distribute food and other basic necessities to its employees, while implementing measures such as regular disinfection and physical distancing.

The mining company said it will continue to enforce the necessary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, together with the assistance of local government units (LGUs).

Meanwhile, Nickel Asia projected that the suspension of operations of its subsidiary will not be significant since HMC is at the end of its mining season and the last of its ore shipments have already been loaded, while the remaining have been diverted to its other subsidiaries, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corp. and Cagdianao Mining Corp.

“In 2019, HMC accounted for 11% of the Nickel Asia Corp. Group’s total ore sales volume,” the disclosure said.

On Wednesday, shares in Nickel Asia at the stock exchange rose 1.06% or P0.04 to close at P3.81 per piece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave