The coronavirus has forced production cuts and closures among major Canadian mining companies, denting plans to take advantage of a deal aimed at increasing exports to the U.S.
Canada is among the world’s top mineral producers. The sector often operates in rural or remote areas and workers live in close quarters, presenting them with risks from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Their proximity to indigenous communities, many of which have residents who work in the mines, has created additional concerns about the spread of the disease.
Industry groups are now grappling with a range of new health and safety protocols imposed by provincial and territorial governments and voluntary actions to protect nearby populations. Some measures include paid leave, reduced workforces, and social distancing throughout facilities.
“Without doubt, costs associated with production are going to go up,” Ben Chalmers, senior vice president at the Mining Association of Canada, said in a recent interview.
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