Agnico Eagle has sent home one worker who’s suspected of having Covid-19 as well as 10 people who were potential contacts at the Meliadine mine.

The company flew all of the individuals south on charter flights.

The employee who tested presumptive positive was swabbed at Mirabel airport in Montreal and the sample was sent to the mining company’s facility in Val-d’Or, Que., on Oct. 20. That person was sent back by plane later that day.

Agnico Eagle has flown more workers south on charter flights to minimize the risk of Covid-19 spread at Meliadine mine.
photo courtesy of Agnico Eagle

Contact tracing ensued and the 10 people who were identified as possibly having been in close vicinity to that worker were isolated and then flown out of Meliadine on Oct. 21.

“They have been instructed to self-isolate at home for 14 days and follow the recommendations of their provincial health authorities. They will be re-tested prior to returning to site,” Agnico Eagle stated in a Thursday news release. “As we take this situation very seriously, we are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of all employees and contractors. All common areas have received additional extensive cleaning and disinfection process.”

Agnico Eagle stated that it worked closely with Nunavut’s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer and followed the office’s recommendations.

The company followed the same procedure on Oct. 17 when a worker tested presumptive positive and flew that individual south on a charter flight the following day. Twelve possible contacts from the site were also sent home by chartered plane.

The Meliadine mine is 25 km north of Rankin Inlet. Nunavummiut workers have not returned to the site since March to reduce risk of virus spread to the communities. Those workers continue to receive 75 per cent of their base salary.

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...