Mines send workers home amid surge in positive COVID-19 tests

Mary River Mine continued operations with reduced staff

Mines send workers home amid surge in positive COVID-19 tests

The Mary River Mine sent all Nunavummiut workers home after six employees tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after arriving on site just before 2021 ended.

All employees who tested positive were isolating, and there were no reported transmission of COVID-19 between workers at the Baffin Island site, CBC reported, citing a statement from the Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation.

A total of 5,432 workers in Alberta oilsands were infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus in 20 workplace outbreaks during the third and fourth waves of the pandemic, according to Alberta Health.

The Mary River Mine’s operator said it will be sending all on-site Nunavummiut workers home after they self-isolate for a certain period of time and receive a negative PCR test result.

Workers will receive full pay while at home, according to the report.

Baffinland said the mine will continue operating, but with reduced staff.

Recently, Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. announced it was sending home Nunavut-based employees who work at the Meliadine, Meadowbank and Hope Bay gold mines for at least three weeks after an outbreak of cases.

Agnico may be taking an unusually protective stance because of its workforce, according to S&P Global, noting that in Canada, First Nations are widely considered more vulnerable to COVID-19, especially where they live in remote communities away from major hospitals, among other issues.