Agnico Eagle announces two presumptive cases of COVID-19 at Nunavut mine
Company says it’s taking extra steps to ensure safety of employees and contractors
Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. has announced two presumptive cases of COVID-19 at its Meliadine gold mine in Nunavut in a news release issued on Thursday, Oct. 22.
In both cases, the workers suspected to have COVID-19 have since been removed from the mine site and potential contacts with those workers have been placed in isolation. The positive test results have yet to be validated by labs in southern Canada.
In the first case, a random testing exercise, conducted as part of the mine’s COVID-19 prevention efforts, turned up a positive result for a worker on Oct. 17. The next day the worker was flown out on a special charter flight.
Twelve people identified as potential contacts were put into isolation at the mine site. Each of these people were re-tested and all results were negative. These workers were flown out on a special charter on Oct. 18 and have been told to self-isolate for two weeks. They will be retested before returning to the mine.
As well, all workers in the same department as the person who is presumed to have COVID-19 have been re-tested, and all their results are negative. The mine says that, as an extra precautionary measures, all workers at the mine site will be retested over the next few days.
In the second case, an employee travelling north to the mine from Mirabel on Oct. 20 tested positive at the company’s testing facility in Val-d’Or. Later that day the worker was flown south on a special charter flight.
Ten workers were identified as possible contacts with the worker who tested positive. These workers were isolated at the mine until they were flown out on a special charter on Oct. 21. These workers have also been told to self-isolate for two weeks and will be retested before returning to the mine.
Agnico Eagle says that in both cases, it worked closely with Nunavut’s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer and followed its recommendations.
“As we take this situation very seriously, we are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of all employees and contractors. All common areas have received additional extensive cleaning and disinfection process,” the company said in its news release.
“The risk of transmission to the community of Rankin Inlet is very low. The Meliadine mine implemented precautionary measures in March to isolate itself from the community, including by having its Nunavummiut workers stay at home with 75 per cent of their base salary to eliminate the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 into the communities.”