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Agnico Eagle sends Nunavut mine workers home to guard against pandemic

Workers will continue to be paid, company meeting with its contractors as well


March 19, 2020
By The Canadian Press

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Photo courtesy Agnico Eagle Mines.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. says it’s sending its local workforce home from its Nunavut mining operations for four weeks to protect them and their communities from the potential spread of the COVID-19 outbreak as the territorial government declares a public health emergency.

The Toronto-based gold miner says it will continue to pay those workers and it’s meeting with its contractors to discuss similar measures for their local workforces.

It says workers who are not currently on site at its Meliadine and Meadowbank operations will be asked to stay home, while the reduced workforce that remains will keep the mines running.

The company didn’t say how many workers are affected, nor did it immediately respond to a request for information.

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It says so far there haven’t been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut or at any of Agnico Eagle’s global operations.

In a report, National Bank Financial analyst Mike Parkin says the decision appears to affect about 400 of the company’s 2,000 employees, most of whom work in supporting roles as kitchen or janitorial workers.

He says the two mines are expected to produce a little over 30 per cent of Agnico’s first half 2020 gold production.

“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,” Agnico Eagle CEO Sean Boyd in a statement.