Coping with Covid-19
Aiming to face the challenge brought by the pandemic, we operate on six pillars – management, control, health, laboratory support, communication and innovation, which have given us agility in responding to the crisis, both in Brazil and in Peru.
When the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Covid-19 a global pandemic, our first initiative was to establish a central crisis committee, comprising four corporate subcommittees, focused on specific fronts to face this crisis. Each unit also created its local committee. During the first months of the pandemic, the central committee met daily to decide on the most urgent issues and provide a prompt response, which was also adopted by the other committees. At the same time, guidelines and procedures for new work formats and social life started being created. While corporate activities were directed towards remote work arrangements, we have adopted several control measures, which involved new social distancing rules in our operations, our camps, cafeterias, public transportation and in all other work environments.
Moreover, sanitary measures, such as the use of masks, provision of hand washing and disinfection points were quickly implemented. Throughout the year, the protocols were updated following the strictest technical recommendations from WHO, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and organizations in the locations where we operate.
We trained our occupational health team in the process of screening employees, in the guidelines for handling suspected and confirmed cases and in all the necessary support for prevention. We also had a laboratory support team, responsible for selecting and developing suppliers to make emergency purchases, such as tests for Covid-19. Strict criteria for technical analysis and evaluation of the best available tests were established by the team responsible for facing the pandemic. The health infrastructure was adequate to meet the new demands and new health care professionals were hired to carry out the processes of permanent epidemiological surveillance in our operations.
All changes, whether in infrastructure or in new social rules, relied on the support of the communication area to disseminate guidelines and positively impact collective behavior. Virtual informational materials, broadcasting of lives for different audiences (internal, suppliers, service providers, community, among others) were used.
We also assembled a team to foster innovation, composed of the innovation, IT, health and safety staff, responsible for evaluating innovative solutions in the market regarding the challenges of the pandemic and creating others for the demands that were emerging. As immediate solutions for collaboration with society, a special edition of Covid-19 Mining Lab Challenge was held, from which two solutions were chosen to support public health: a hospital ICU management platform and a mental health app for healthcare professionals.
The nimble establishment of all protocols allowed us to be the first mining company to resume activities in Peru, after the end of a period of national emergency decreed by the country’s government. Thus, we were able to comply with the revised production guidance and exceed the sales forecast.
Throughout the year 2020, we made efforts to preserve cash and, consequently, there was a reduction in Capex, maintaining the essential investments to ensure that the operations met all safety requirements. In 2021, Nexa should resume investments in levels similar to the pre-pandemic period, aiming to guarantee the long-term sustainability of its businesses. Despite budgetary restrictions, we did not join Provisional Measure 936, providing for temporary wage reduction or suspension of employment contracts, nor did we dismiss our personnel due to the pandemic.
We would like to emphasize our contribution to society, especially to the most vulnerable communities in the areas in which we operate, by donating food baskets to the population, providing online courses for entrepreneurs and donating equipment and health items to hospitals.