Canadian mining companies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic – by Tijana Mitrovic (CIM Magazine – March 17, 2020)

Mining companies operating in Canada are taking measures to protect employees in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As the novel coronavirus has spread to over 140 countries, companies such as Agnico Eagle Mines and Vale are using different strategies to protect their workers and operations as the situation unfolds.

According to Nunatsiaq News, Agnico Eagle Mines created a new senior management task force to work on response measures to the pandemic, and will be adopting more cleaning, medical care and isolation measures at its mine sites.

In addition, the company is implementing its existing pandemic plan in response to COVID-19. As part of the plan, which was developed following the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks, the company will begin screening employees for the virus at its Nunavut mines in Rankin Inlet and Baker Lake and its Quebec mines in Mirabel and Val d’Or. How companies will accommodate workers it sends home for suspected symptoms of the virus, such as a cough or sore throat, remains uncertain.

The high risk of travelling associated with COVID-19 has led some companies operating at remote sites to suspend activities in order to protect employees. While there have been no reported cases of the virus at any remote mine locations, companies are acting to prevent its spread to regions where resources are limited.

Marathon Gold, for example, announced that it was closing the 44,000-metre exploration drilling program at its Valentine Gold project in Newfoundland for spring maintenance two weeks earlier than scheduled due to concerns about the pandemic.

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