Nunavut workers at TMAC gold mine will head home to avoid COVID-19

Move affects about 58 Nunavut employees

To reduce possible exposure to COVID-19 among Nunavummiut, TMAC Resources Inc. is sending its Nunavut employees and contractors back home and locking up this survival shelter at Roberts Bay, which is often used by hunters. (Photo courtesy of TMAC)

By Jane George

TMAC Resources Inc. plans to send its Nunavut mine workers home to protect them from exposure to the new coronavirus, says Alex Buchan, the company’s Cambridge Bay-based vice-president for corporate social responsibility.

TMAC, which operates the Hope Bay gold mine about 110 kilometres from Cambridge Bay, is screening everyone who heads to the site.

And it’s now also sending its Nunavut employees home, as Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. said it plans to do.

“The risk to Nunavut-based workers is such that starting this week, we will begin demobilizing our Nunavut workforce and having them stay at home at standby salary rates,” said Buchan in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

Through the mine’s infectious disease plan, TMAC said it aims to eliminate the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a southern worker to a Nunavut worker, and then on to a Kitikmeot community.

Direct hires and contract workers include about 58 Nunavut residents, said Buchan.

“Southern crew change flights will continue during this period with our existing screening protocols in effect,” he said.

TMAC plans to continue without its Nunavut workers on the site for the next two crew change rotation cycles and will evaluate the situation from there, Buchan said.

The move was taken in coordination with Kitikmeot Corp., the Inuit development corporation which operates four subsidiaries at Hope Bay. KC will also offer standby salaries to its affected employees, Buchan said.

TMAC has also decided to lock up the survival shelter at Roberts Bay near the Hope Bay mine site. This shelter is usually available for hunters coming from Cambridge Bay to the Hope Bay area and further on into Bathurst Inlet.

“This is being done to eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from one of our site workers to a travelling hunter,” Buchan said.

But he said TMAC will assist with any public or community searches in the Hope Bay area if needed, based on requests from Nunavut’s Emergency Measures Office.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by Charmaine Blanchette on

    Sure send the nunavut people home to protect them but dont care about the risk the other workers are taking getting to the mine.

    • Posted by Green woman on

      Let me tell you one thing. This is the right move. If you infect the community, you will have everybody in the community protesting against the company. They will be given a lower salary (Stand by salary) and operations can continue. The reduced team will do OK and might be given a bonus as operations are going on on their back (extra hours and co) – this is my opinion…

      • Posted by Charmaine Blanchette on

        They should stop operations. The reduced crew is from all over canada flying in from other places with who knows what.

        • Posted by Frank “The Tank” Rodman on

          The reason they released Nunavut workers was to keep the community safe and to ensure the mine wouldn’t be asked to close – this according to my personal analysis. Such a remote mine – with good medical checks and not too many in- and outflows, might be the best place to be in a global pandemic. Plus: TMAC is, by my calculations, sub-valuated by a factor of at least 1:6.5.

  2. Posted by Walter Guld on

    I am happy about the good managent decisions of TMAC. As a Canadian Company that brings on lots of taxes, TMAC has been seeing large selling by Blackrock, that is about to flame kout very soon. Without that selling, I guess, TMAC would be worth 2-3 dollars. With gold rising, it will come back. The community workplaces are one of lots of grateful things about TMAC. It might be describes as a pearl of the north. Known it for ages, and am 100 percent sure that witb current money-floods and rising metal prices, TMAC will rise again to old hights, as the canadian dollar is weak, amd production nearly as cheap as in Mexico.

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