Nunavut workers allowed back to Mary River mine
Baffinland says it expects more than 200 Nunavummiut to return to site
Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. is bringing back its Nunavut workers for the first time since March 2020, the company announced Thursday.
The announcement comes just three days after the territory’s chief public health officer declared the end of a six-week COVID-19 outbreak at the mine.
“Baffinland has put in place a number of measures to protect the health of workers and their home communities,” Dr. Michael Patterson said in a news release.
“And now that travel restrictions have all been lifted in Nunavut, I support Nunavummiut returning to work at the Mary River project.”
Workers were sent home at the beginning of the pandemic to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to Nunavut communities.
Baffinland spokesperson Heather Smiles said in an email to Nunatsiaq News that sessions are happening in communities to train workers on COVID-19 protocols at the mine and that further training will happen on site for job-specific tasks.
The company expects more than 200 Nunavummiut to return to work, she said.
The company has two testing labs on site and one in St. Hubert, Que. — where its charter flights depart from — and employees are tested several times while they are on site, including one test within 24 hours of when workers leave the mine, Smiles said.
The company also has an isolation wing if necessary, limited seating in common areas and free mental health support either virtually or over the phone.
“We are looking forward to welcoming back our friends and colleagues to site,” said Baffinland CEO Brian Penney in the news release.