Nunavut Mining Symposium cancelled due to coronavirus

Decision follows news that one attendee at Canada’s national mining gathering has since contracted the virus

Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq speaks at the 2019 Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit. The 2020 edition of the event was cancelled on Wednesday, March 11, due to concerns about the new coronavirus, COVID-19. (Photo by Jane George)

By Jane George

(Updated March 12, 10:40 a.m.)

The 2020 Nunavut Mining Symposium has been cancelled due to the new coronavirus, COVID-19, which was today declared a global pandemic.

The Nunavut Mining Symposium Society said this afternoon that it had determined, after meeting with Nunavut’s chief public health officer, that “it would be the most responsible precautionary measure to address concerns around the spread of COVID-19.”

“We recognize that our event attracts a significant number of people from around Nunavut and Canada,” Bernie MacIsaac, the society’s vice-president, said in a news release. “Current best practices to help contain the illness include reducing large public gatherings, so this is what helped guide the decision.”

The cancellation follows this past weekend’s cancellation of the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

The Nunavut Mining Symposium was to be held from March 30 to April 2.

The conference generally draws up to 500 delegates to Iqaluit and also involves a trade fair that’s open to the public.

The symposium’s cancellation follows shortly after news that one attendee at the recent Prospectors and Developers Association Conference in Toronto has since tested positive for COVID-19.

That attendee is from Sudbury, Ont. PDAC is attended by about 26,000 people from 132 countries.

Anyone who attended PDAC has been asked to monitor themselves for symptoms of the coronavirus for 14 days.

Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Mike Patterson, said today in a statement that said there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory.

But Nunavut’s Health Department said late on Wednesday, March 11, that there was a contingent of seven employees from the territory’s Economic Development and Transportation Department at the conference.

“While the risk is minimal and none of these employees have reported any of the symptoms of COVID-19, they are staying home as a precaution,” the statement said.

As for those who had planned to attend the Nunavut Mining Symposium, organizers said it would be issuing full refunds to all delegates and sponsors who have paid to date.

The hotels and airlines that are also affected by this decision have been notified.

Iqaluit’s Frobisher Inn, Discovery Hotel and Capital Suites will allow cancellations of delegate rooms without penalty, despite it being outside normal cancellation time.

Canadian North says it will waive all change fees related to Nunavut Mining Symposium bookings, or allow these bookings to be exchanged for a travel credit that will be valid for one year from the date of issuance.

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by ray donovan on

    Whats the GN game plan here. If this gets into a closed community one would say there would be some heavy consequences. Its in Ottawa. One plane ride to Iqaluit.

  2. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Good call to cancel the Nunavut Mining Symposium, as it was a good call to cancel the Arctic Winter Games.
    Now we all have to hope that someone at the GN is trying to figure out what they are going to do when the COVID-19 virus actually does get into Nunavut communities – if it isn’t here already.
    I’d hate to see Nunavut overwhelmed as is happening in Italy and is about to happen in the U.S.

    • Posted by Cambaymiut on

      I have doubts about the GN at the higher levels. The story about Hickes being questioned said he stated there were isolation units available in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, and Cambridge Bay. The health staff in Cambridge Bay have no idea what he’s talking about.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        I have doubts about the GN at the higher, middle, and lower levels. I really don’t think they have an idea as to the possible magnitude of this pandemic.
        Hopefully it will not be as bad as I fear but the GN’s job is to plan for the worst, not the best case.

      • Posted by Isolation Units on

        I think his plan is to hire some elders to build isolation igloos. Inuit women used to be isolated in small igloos for childbirth. It will be the same sort of thing.

        • Posted by Observer on

          Do the isolation igloos come with oxygen and cardiac monitors?

  3. Posted by wondering on

    This is turning into a economic nightmare..all over some flu..maybe if the Press would shut up for a bit..and find something else to dwell on, there would not be such a panic resulting in millions of loss dollars to , but not limited to the travel will trickle all the way assure..

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      If you have been following this from the start, it’s a novel corona virus, meaning that it is new and no one really knows what it is capable of doing.
      Influenza, at least the current strains have been well studied and their effects and transmission vectors are well understood. That is not the case with the Covid-19 virus.
      Influenza for example has a mortality rate of 0.1%, which affects mostly the aged, infants, and young children. The Covid-19 virus has a mortality rate closer to 3%, almost exclusively seniors. If you’re 80 years old and get the virus I believe that the mortality rate is very high, close to 50%.
      Now I might not have all of the percentages accurate as I’m just doing this from memory, and the statistics really aren’t that good as reporting is still poor. I’m sure that in a year’s time the medical community will understand it a lot better, until then there really is no treatment, and no vaccine. Kinda scary if you’re 60 or older wouldn’t you say?

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