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TMAC Resources is in the process of sending its Nunavummiut employees home with pay from Hope Bay to wait out the COVID-19 virus risk.

Workers from Nunavut employed at TMAC Resources’ Hope Bay gold property are being sent home with pay this week due to the risk from COVID-19. [ad number=1 ]

photo courtesy of TMAC Resources

Close to 60 direct hires and contract workers will receive standby salary during this time, according to Lana Pisarenko, investor relations associate with TMAC Resources. Kitikmeot Corporation, which operates four subsidiaries at Hope Bay that employ Nunavut-based workers, has opted to do the same, Pisarenko added.

“Through this measure we are eliminating the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a southern worker to a Nunavut worker, and then on to a Kitikmeot community,” Pisarenko said, adding that the company will reassess these interim safety measures after the next couple of crew changes. 

The mining company’s workforce from the south, representing approximately 600 people, continues to work at the gold site, 125 km southwest of Cambridge Bay.

To minimize the chances of COVID-19 showing up at Hope Bay, TMAC has put its infectious disease control plan in place, which addresses enhanced hygienic practices and the screening of employees for symptoms or high-risk activity before boarding flights.

Another precaution that the company has taken is to lock the survival shelter at Roberts Bay, which is usually available to local harvesters travelling from Cambridge Bay to the Hope Bay area or Bathurst Inlet.

“This is being done to eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from one of our site workers to a travelling hunter,” Pisarenko stated, but she added that TMAC will still assist with on-the-land emergencies or searches.

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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  1. So limiting “eliminating the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a southern worker to a Nunavut worker, and then on to a Kitikmeot community…”

    And what are you doing then to eliminate, or even minimize the risks to the rest of our husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, children etc., from Northern Ontario to those in Southern Ontario, or B.C., or any other province!?

    Were workers given the free choice to self-isolate with pay, or was it either you come to work or you try and get in the staggering EI waiting line up and hope your family can survive til checks start coming out!? No, I bet not.

    You know what that will cause – without that security – people going to work SICK. Or where they were “fine” but family members have been sick and not identified as corona.