Agnico Eagle’s ongoing operations at the Meliadine gold mine, 25 km north of Rankin Inlet, don’t pose “significant risk” under the mine’s COVID-19 protocol, according to a quote attributed to Nunavut chief medical health officer in a Municipality of Rankin Inlet news release issued Friday.
“I have reviewed the plans and preparations of Agnico Eagle Mine, and it is my belief that under the current circumstances their working arrangements do not represent a significant risk of spreading COVID-19 to the residents of Rankin Inlet,” Dr. Michael Patterson is quoted as stating in the news release.
Passenger flights will be disrupted if Nunavut reaches eight cases of the coronavirus COVID-19, according to the document, but it also states that that number is under review and could be reduced. To date, there is not a single diagnosed case of the virus in the territory.
Agnico Eagle has an airstrip at its Meadowbank complex, north of Baker Lake, so employees there fly directly to the site. However, the workers at Meliadine have to land in Rankin Inlet and then take a bus directly to the mine.
All workers at Agnico Eagle’s Nunavut operations are southerners as the company recently allowed its Nunavummiut staff to stay at home, while paid, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being transmitted to Kivalliq communities. Those employees have been urged to go into self-isolation for 14 days as a precaution.