Agnico Eagle plans phased return of Nunavut workers to its gold mines
Nunavut workers to continue receiving 75 per cent of base salary until at least June 20
The two Nunavut gold mines operated by Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. should restart full operations over the next few weeks, the company said yesterday.
The company reduced activities at the mines on March 23, when Agnico Eagle sent its 400 to 500 Nunavut employees home as a COVID-19 preventive measure.
Now plans to bring these Nunavut workers back are being developed, Agnico Eagle said in an emailed statement, issued shortly after the Government of Nunavut announced a gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the territory.
A specific date for the workers’ return has yet to be identified, the company said.
But if you are an Agnico Eagle employee, you can count on being paid for an extra three weeks.
Agnico Eagle said it would extend the 75 per cent base salary compensation package by an additional three weeks, from May 30 until June 20, for all Nunavut employees and for all other employees whose work remains suspended.
Before workers return, they will be required to watch an explanatory video that outlines the COVID-19 preventive measures in place at both mines.
A booklet on those measures will also be distributed to all employees.
In April, Agnico Eagle set up COVID-19 mobile laboratory testing at its Meliadine mine to test employees and contractors. It tested more than 1,500 employees from both the Meliadine and Meadowbank mines, and “all tests have been negative,” the company said.
Agnico Eagle also plans to resume exploration activities in Nunavut and has developed protocols to respect its “non-contact” policy with the local communities.
Drilling activities will resume in three main locations: Amaruq, Meadowbank and at kilometre 45 of the Baker Lake road.
“Extraordinary preventive and hygiene measures are enforced such as physical distancing, [and] transportation of material and personnel by helicopter and trucks to prevent interactions with Baker Lake community members,” Agnico Eagle said.
“In addition, exploration personnel will also be systematically tested for COVID-19 and enhanced sanitation procedures are being implemented.”
Many of the company’s employees will continue to work remotely to reduce the number of people required at site, the company said.
But Agnico Eagle plans on having its workers return to their 14 days in, 14 days out rotation schedules at Meliadine by mid-June, and by the end of June for the Meadowbank Complex.
A 28-day work rotation had been adopted by the company to limit the number of workers entering and leaving the mine sites.
“The 14-14 schedule is more suitable for our workforce, as well as for summer activities such as sealift and construction work,” the company said.