Vale ramping down operations at Voisey’s Bay (CBC News Newfoundland-Labrador – March 17, 2020)

Safety of remote Indigenous communities top of mind, company says

Brazilian mining giant Vale is placing its Labrador nickel mine under “care and maintenance” protocols for the next four weeks amid concerns about COVID-19.

The remote mine, just south of Nain on the northern coast of Labrador, has about 900 workers on site. It is accessible only by air, and has employees from all over Canada.

No employees have tested positive for the virus, but the company said it was taking steps to keep it that way.

“Vale took the decision to ramp down its Voisey’s Bay mining operation and place it on care and maintenance for a period of four weeks, as a precaution to help protect the health and well-being of Nunatsiavut and Innu Indigenous communities in Labrador in face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a release.

Vale said protecting the health of remote Labrador communities is its top priority. The company suspended flights Monday. It’s not clear from the company’s news release when workers on site will be able to fly out, but Torngat Mountains MHA Lela Evans said it was her understanding non-essential workers would be sent home.

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