Mining companies are pulling out all stops to protect workers and ensure the multi-billion dollar industry does not collapse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NSW Minerals Council said Hunter mines were operating as normal despite the introduction of extra measures to protect workers' health.
Some mines are taking workers' temperatures at the start of each shift to monitor for signs of fever while others are staggering meal breaks and cancelling group meetings to keep workers apart.
The Minerals Council spokesman said the industry was working with state and federal governments, regulators and other industry associations to assess and minimise the impact of coronavirus on the mining sector.
"Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our workforce and mining communities while maintaining the strong economic contribution that our state, our mining communities and our mining families rely upon," he said.
"Mining operations are implementing extensive workforce protection measures in accordance with public advice, including enhanced cleaning and sanitation, work from home policies, social distancing in crib rooms and enhanced screening measures for visitors."
CFMEU Northern Mining and NSW Energy President Peter Jordan said mining companies needed to balance their employees health with the need to continue operating.
"Operators need to develop site-based risk assessments and comply with the latest government and health advice. Across the Hunter Valley some sites are doing this well and others need to lift their game," he said.
Mr Jordan said the impact of the pandemic on workers' mental health was a major concern.
"Many are anxious about risks to themselves and their families and they will be affected by loved ones losing their jobs," he said.
"This is a new situation for everyone. The union will take every opportunity to advocate for our members' safety, rights and livelihoods throughout this crisis."
A Glencore spokesman said each of the company's sites had implemented risk-based plans to support the health and safety of workers and the continuation of business.
These were based on the principles of education, social distancing, minimising travel, pre and post diagnosis protocols and communication with staff.
A Port of Newcastle spokesman said coal continued to be exported from the port as normal.
He said all coal ships took more than 14 days to travel to Australia thereby negating the need for crew to remain in isolation upon arrival unless they exhibited symptoms of illness.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to ensure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists, you can subscribe here
- COVID-19 update: Confirmed cases keep rising in Hunter
- The coronavirus crisis in Newcastle and the Hunter
- Emergency services and healthcare workers hour to start at Coles
- Port Stephens council meeting cancelled, Newcastle's to go ahead
- A-League: Border restrictions put A-League on hold but FFA hope to complete season