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Published: Tuesday August 5, 2014 MYT 7:15:08 PM
Updated: Tuesday August 5, 2014 MYT 7:16:33 PM

Mining firm in Sierra Leone takes measures against Ebola advance

LONDON (Reuters) - Minerals group Sierra Rutile has begun screening its workers for early signs of Ebola, put travel restrictions in place and limited access to its operations in west Africa, the company said on Tuesday.

The company, which mines rutile in southwest Sierra Leone, said the measures were precautionary and designed to reduce any risk to its employees, contractors and visitors.

Rutile is a mineral mostly used in paints, plastics, paper and in the manufacture of refractory ceramics.

"Sierra Rutile is monitoring the evolution of the situation carefully to allow a rapid response if circumstances change and will provide updates as necessary," it said in a statement.

The Ebola outbreak first began in February in the forests of Guinea and was confirmed in Sierra Leone in May. The virus in Sierra Leone was identified in the district of Kailahun, about 300 km from the company's operations.

There have been no reported or suspected cases of Ebola to date at Sierra Rutile's operations and production has not been disrupted as a result of the outbreak. The company said however it had contingency plans should the situation worsen.

The outbreak in West Africa has killed about 900 people and the toll continues to rise. The death rate in the current epidemic is about 60 percent, experts say.

(Reporting by Silvia Antonioli; editing by David Evans)

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