Coronavirus fears force some exploration juniors to break camp, while mine developers proceed cautiously
The coronavirus’ rapid spread across Canada has junior mining executives and mine developers in Northern Ontario weighing the safety and exposure of their workers in deciding whether to proceed or temporarily lock down operations until conditions improve.
The factors of remoteness, proximity to susceptible populations, the ability to contain an outbreak, and a transient workforce figure prominently in their evaluations, as evidenced in a roundup of recent news releases issued by the companies.
Noront Resources decided to pull stakes on their Esker exploration camp in the Ring of Fire. The company calls the closure a “necessary precaution to help protect the health and well-being of our employees and the communities surrounding our operations,” 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
The remote James Bay area camp has 20 workers, most of them from Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations. The logistics of flying in and out of the campsite would make it difficult to contain an outbreak, Noront said in a release.
“We also recognize there are vulnerable people living in the remote communities our workers return to at the end of their shift, and closing Esker will help keep those community members safe,” the company stated in a March 19 news release.