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Northern Ontario Mines have no immunity to Covid-19

Dec 10, 2020

Covid begins to sink its teeth into the Abitibi Mining Belt

By Stephane Villeneuve, Mining Life Online


The Novel Coronarius responsible for the ongoing pandemic has finally begun to rear its ugly head in northern Ontario, with several mines declaring cases.

Four workers at Barrick’s Hemlo Mine tested positive and in response over 300 employees are now in self isolation, with production expected to continue at the mine site.  Nine shifts were identified between Nov 21 to the 29th and were identified as high risk, and anyone working during this time has been directed to self-isolate.

The mine has already undertaken many measures to reduce any spread of the virus at the mine site, a health unit release stated. “These are currently being enhanced and reinforced and the mine has communicated these enhancements to its employees, contractors, the community and First Nation partners. Further measures will be taken as needed to manage this situation.

In a December 9th release, an employee at Newmont’s Porcupine Mine tested positive and is currently in self isolation. People in close contact with the affected individual have been contacted by the Porcupine Health Unit and anyone not contacted is considered low risk for exposure.

Newmont Porcupine General Manager, Patrick Chabot, stated, "In addition to conducting deep cleaning and sanitizing of the affected work areas, including disinfectant fogging, we decided to perform additional cleaning at the receiving area of the Dome Warehouse on Dec. 7. This decision was a precautionary step and not as a requirement under our COVID Management Plan. Access to the area was restricted with barricades while the work was completed. The area has since been safely reopened," said Chabot.

The news comes on the heels of Alamos Gold reporting a 6th case occurring at the Young-Davidson Mine, located outside Matachewan, ON. The site continued operations with additional precautions and close contacts to the affected individual have been contacted.

Despite vaccines on the horizon and a potential end to the corona virus there is still plenty of time for Covid-19 to cause quite a bit of damage, especially through Christmas. Although affected mines have taken all the necessary precautions to protect their employees the danger still remains lurking under the surface. Frequent hand washing, masks, vitamin D, and social distancing can all help us as prevent this terrible virus from doing anymore damage than it already has.

Stay connected to mininglifeonline.net for all your mining and exploration news and as always take care and stay safe!

Tags: Northern Ontario / Operational Updates / All Articles