Nunavut joint-venture airline signs 10-year deal with Agnico Eagle
Sarliaq Aviation, Nolinor will carry employees and supplies to Meadowbank, Meliadine
A Nunavut-based aviation company has partnered with Quebec’s Nolinor Aviation and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. to transport employees and supplies to the mining company’s projects in the Kivalliq.
The new 10-year agreement will see Sarliaq Aviation and Nolinor provide air transport for Agnico Eagle between Montreal, Abitibi-Temiscamingue and its Kivalliq-based mine sites.
Sarliaq and Nolinor already work together. Nolinor has a joint venture with Sarliaq’s parent company, Sarliaq Holdings Inc., to help provide transport services to the Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake.
“Sarliaq Aviation and Nolinor have worked together since 2010, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership through this new contract,” said Sarliaq’s president, Silu Panniuq, in a Nov. 13 press release.
“This 10-year agreement will solidify the company’s future, ensure long-term employment and expand our service offer through Agnico Eagle.”
Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has also been using Nolinor charter aircraft for several years to transport workers between its Mary River iron mine in North Baffin and Montreal, with stops in Iqaluit along the way.
Sarliaq launched in 2016 under the Nunavut Business Corporations Act, but only became certified as an Inuit firm in 2017.
The new agreement will add flights to Rankin Inlet serving Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine, which is still under construction.
Under the new contract, Nolinor will use its Boeing 737-200 fleet, which is based out of Mirabel airport near Montreal.
Meanwhile, Agnico Eagle has stopped using scheduled commercial flights for employees living in the Kivalliq region and has switched to using charters.
“We have switched our Kivalliq employee flights from commercial flights to charter as it is a more efficient process for us to manage, and we have better control over the flights now that we have three sites—Meadowbank, Amaruq and Meliadine. We are still using Calm Air as the carrier,” Dale Coffin, Agnico Eagle’s director of communications and public affairs told Nunatsiaq News Nov. 3.
In a Facebook post, the company told employees in the Kivalliq region that from now on, regional employees will be put on charters from Chesterfield Inlet, Arviat, Whale Cove and Rankin Inlet for travel to work sites at Meadowbank or Meliadine. (See schedule embedded below.)
“Please note that with this new charter service it is critical that the employee arrives in time for their flight,” the company said.
An employee who misses a flight for their scheduled shift will miss one full week of work and must submit a new request for rebooking on the following week’s flight, the company said.
“No commercial charter flights will be booked for employees who have missed flights,” the company said.
With files from Jane George.