Nunavik employees return to work at nickel mine

Glencore Raglan mine plans progressive return to work, increased safety measures

A Raglan employee operates the jumbo bolter at the Nunavik nickel mine. Local Nunavimmiut employees have gradually started returning to work there for the first time since the mine closed last March. (Photo by Sarah Rogers)

By Sarah Rogers

Since Sept. 1, Nunavik-based employees of Glencore’s Raglan mine have been gradually returning to work at the mine site.

The nickel mine closed on March 24 amidst a COVID-19 pandemic lockdown across Quebec. Raglan then re-opened on April 15, though regional authorities opted to keep Nunavimmiut away from the mine site to help prevent a spread of COVID-19 cases in the region.

The decision to allow mine employees to return to the workplace was one made by the Nunavik Regional Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee (N-REPAC), along with regional health and hamlet authorities and Raglan mine.

Inuit employees from the region who live in the south were already authorized to return to work—a group of about 100 employees. Starting on Sept. 1, the additional 134 employees living in Nunavik’s 14 communities will gradually start to go back.

“This is really good news to us as it shows that the regional authorities have confidence in the measures we have implemented to protect the health and safety of our workers, their families and the communities of Nunavik,” said Céliane Dorval, a spokeswoman for Glencore Raglan.

“Since it is a progressive return, people will not come back all at the same time to the mine site.” She said. “In the meantime, permanent employees and temporary employees with a schedule will keep their base salary until their return to the mine site.”

Nunavik employees have continued to receive their base salaries since March.

Glencore Raglan said it has implemented a number of safety measures to prepare for the return of staff from the region, included intensified disinfection of the premises and of means of transportation, additional screening prior to boarding flights, and a COVID-19 virology screening test before employees return home following their two-week shifts.

Raglan mine will not, however, authorize the use of its facilities at Donaldson or Deception Bay by Nunavimmiut harvesters or travellers out on the land in order to limit any exposure between workers and community members, the mine said.

The N-REPAC said it is meeting with regional authorities this week to determine whether Nunavimmiut employees of the region’s other operating mine, Nunavik Nickel, will also be permitted to return to work.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Ronad Roach on

    So when is our Nunavut Government going to do the right thing and get Inuit back to work at our mines. I forgot if you are raised and born in Nunavut you have to leave Nunavut and move south to be able to work in Nunavut you may even be able to apply as an critical employment person because you have to live outside of Nunavut or be a government employee or an elected official. Seriously it is time to begin to think on who should or should not get elected in the next election.

    • Posted by Sam on

      Silent nite,gn,nti,Kia,hamlets,just don’t care about us,they all get paid not us,where are the leaders that care about us ,what is happening.

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