Agnico Eagle has amended its plans based on the public health emergency declared in Nunavut on Wednesday and its 400-500 Nunavut-based workers will be permitted to stay home for the next four weeks, effective immediately.
The workers will continue to receive their regular pay.
Agnico Eagle will be meeting with its contractors to discuss similar measures for their Nunavummiut workers, the company stated in a news release on Thursday.
The mining company plans to continue its operations in the Kivalliq with its remaining workforce from southern Canada.
“We value our relationship with the people of Nunavut and are committed to do what is best for the health, safety and well-being of all our employees and the communities,” stated Sean Boyd, Agnico Eagle’s chief executive officer. “This precautionary measure is being implemented in order to eliminate the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a southern worker to a Nunavut worker, with the risk of it moving into the communities.”
Some Nunavummiut were critical of Agnico Eagle on social media earlier in the week for not allowing local workers to stay home. On Wednesday evening, Marvin Dion, former mayor of Coral Harbour, took pictures of what he said was a blockade on the road between Rankin Inlet and the Meliadine mine. There were several vehicles blocking traffic at Kilometre Eight, according to Dion.