Agnico Eagle looks at bringing its Nunavut employees back to work

Company reports net income of $511.6 million for 2020

Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine gold mine near Rankin Inlet. (Agnico Eagle photo)

By Jim Bell

Now that a COVID-19 vaccination program has started in Nunavut, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. is looking at bringing its Nunavut-based employees back to work sometime this year, the company said last week in its year-end financial report for 2020.

To protect vulnerable Nunavut communities, Agnico Eagle’s Nunavut workers have stayed home since the start of the pandemic last March. The company continues to pay 75 per cent of their salaries.

For the fourth quarter of 2020 — from October to December — that amounted to $3.7 million in pre-tax income for the company’s stay-at-home Nunavut workers.

But this year, as Nunavut’s vaccination program continues to progress, the company is preparing to “re-integrate the Nunavut-based workforce,” Agnico Eagle said.

In addition to its Nunavut operations, Agnico Eagle operates mines in Finland, Quebec and Mexico.

Across all of its operations, the company spent an additional $2.1 million on COVID-19 protection during the fourth quarter of 2020.

This includes spending on five testing centres for its Canadian operations and spending on one testing centre at its Kittila mine in Finland, which has been made available to the municipality of Kittila.

That amount also included the purchase of sanitizing equipment and masks, the company said.

So far, 285 Agnico Eagle workers have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 227 occurred at the company’s mines in Mexico.

But only 12 positive cases have turned up among workers at the company’s Nunavut mines, none of whom are Nunavut residents.

And the COVID-19 pandemic has not hurt Agnico Eagle financially.

For the year 2020, the company reported net income of $511.6 million, up from net income of $473.2 million in 2019.

It attributes that increase primarily to higher average gold prices, the financial report states.

Meanwhile, the company will start production at is Amaruq satellite mine in early 2022. Ore from that deposit will be processed at its existing Meadowbank facility.

As for the Hope Bay gold property, which Agnico Eagle acquired when it bought TMAC Resources earlier this year, the company is suggesting that it will take a go-slow approach to further development of the troubled property, which suffers from a botched processing plant and other problems.

However, Agnico Eagle does plan a “property-wide” exploration program and an evaluation of different mining and milling strategies for the property this year.

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(10) Comments:

  1. Posted by Qavvigarjuk on

    Yes, the sooner the better for people who got vaccinated twice whom two weeks have passed after their last vaccine to make sure they have the 95% immunity then. Not everyone got paid 75% of their salary; only Agnico employees .The contractor employees who work up at the mines had to go on EI which will run out in March. They did not get 75% of their salary. People who have their laminated vaccination cards should be allowed to go up to work then ( after 2 weeks of last vaccination). It has been a tough year for people who had to go on EI… they will have no income soon and there are bills to pay, food to buy etc. They should get tested too and still follow all the protocols, masking, washing hands, keeping their distance etc. Lets get going!

    • Posted by Nanuq on

      Even with the vaccine you can still catch Covid and pass it onto others it only helps you to fight it off better not protect you from catching it.
      You still need to wear a mask, social distancing, wash your hands all the same rules apply.
      These mines have had positive cases a number of times, the risks would have to be looked at further and decide is its safe enough for the rest of the communities.

      • Posted by Wish I could get the shot here in Iqaluit! on

        Can we have everyone in Nunavut vaccinated before we consider this? The Health Minister thinks we’re stupid, but I think we all know we’re not going to meet our end of March target for vaccinations.

        • Posted by Simon on

          Unfortunately the GNs plans are to vaccinated 75% for Nunavut, I’m sure most of the communities will get vaccinated except for Iqaluit.

  2. Posted by Consistency on

    All the info that has been shared with us when there was a case is that it was caught right when the employees arrived at the mine. And all those that might have had contact where isolated in there rooms and then possibly sent south. how about if that happens and any Nunavummiut are in the contact zone with the infected person they are sent to the isolation hub for further testing and quarantine. this way it decreases the risk of it getting into a community but still allows people to get back to work.

    • Posted by Sam on

      I agree, and the gn should do this in Arviat, isolate people in the local hotels for 2 weeks with security guards, to stop the spread

  3. Posted by Uluqsi on

    The process for everyone to get to the aem mine site; arriving to the airport (everyone is required to have a mask on) then a questionnaire is filled out for everyone by a person behind plexiglass. After that, everyone is tested before checking in. Everyone waits in the waiting room until everyone’s test comes back negative. For those who test positive are put in a hotel for one night alone and tested again the next day.
    At the mine site; everyone is still required to use a mask everywhere except in their bedroom, in the washroom, work areas where you are alone and while you eat.
    After 5 days at being at the site everyone needs to be mandatory tested again.
    If someone is tested positive they are sent back home and contact tracing is made.
    At the kitchen, your temperature is check and need to wash your hands. Every table has plexiglass and tables are washed after anyone has used them.

    I hope this answers any questions, and hope that inuit are able to come back to the mine.

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  6. Posted by Victor on

    Every second day change mask
    Tested before checkin also after second day, if any cases find, open it only to inuit

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