Akeeagok addresses concerns about Meliadine mine

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Minister of Mines David Akeeagok assures residents of Rankin Inlet their COVID-19 concerns are being heard. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

David Akeeagok, minister responsible for mines, made an appearance during Thursday’s press conference to address his concerns about the Meliadine mine situation near Rankin Inlet.

On Wednesday evening, there was a blockade, set up by Rankin Inlet residents, on the road between Rankin Inlet and the Meliadine gold mine.

The Meliadine mine is situated near the western shore of Hudson Bay in the Kivalliq district of Nunavut. It is about 25 kilometres north of Rankin Inlet.

Many residents are concerned about the potential spread of COVID-19 from mine workers, who are coming from the south.

“We are just very concerned about the virus spreading to out community members,” said one anonymous source.

“I hope they have ways to give us assurance that the infected persons will not spread the virus. Our main concern. We want a guarantee that we won’t get affected by the mine employees.”

Akeeagok said, “we are taking these concerns very seriously,”

Any individual travelling to the Meliadine gold mine has been screened for international travel and flu like symptoms, assured Akeeagok. There has also been increased cleaning at the mine sites, on the aircraft and ground transportation.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson explained, the mine staff depart from the plane and then hop onto a bus, which is operated by the mining company. The miners are no longer entering the airport or coming into contact with residents of Rankin Inlet. The bus takes the miners directly to the mine site.