Canadian Malartic, country’s biggest gold mine, shuts down temporarily – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 26, 2020)

Canada’s biggest gold mine is shutting down under Quebec’s directive that all non-essential businesses close until April 13 to reduce the spread of COVID-19, putting more stress on the already battered Canadian gold sector.

The Canadian Malartic mine in the Abitibi region of Quebec produced about 450,000 ounces of gold last year, and is co-owned by Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. and Yamana Gold Corp. Agnico’s Goldex and LaRonde mines, both in Quebec, are also closing under the province’s directive.

In addition, the Toronto-based company is paring back operations at its two mines in Nunavut, which heavily rely on Quebec workers. At Meliadine, Agnico plans to process ore from stockpiles for 40 days, while Amaruq will be sidelined entirely.

“We’re fully supportive of what the government is doing,” said Sean Boyd, chief executive of Agnico. “The government’s got a huge responsibility to protect the citizens. We have an obligation to protect our employees, their health and safety and well-being, and also to the communities we operate in.”

Last week, Agnico sent home its entire Nunavut-based work force home as a precautionary measure to reduce the chance of the virus spreading to the local Indigenous community.

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