Agnico Eagle is providing the following update on recent results from its COVID-19 testing program for employees at its Meliadine Mine, near Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
On November 20, 2020, an employee working at the Meliadine mine who had arrived on site on November 17th and had previously tested negative upon arrival as per our regular protocol, began to develop mild COVID-19 symptoms. The employee was immediately placed in isolation to be re-tested.
On November 21st, the employee tested positive for COVID-19 at our testing facility at site and was considered as a presumptive case. The Company received confirmation on November 25th from an accredited external laboratory that the individual had tested positive for COVID-19.
In accordance with the Company’s isolation protocols, the individual who tested positive to COVID-19 was extracted from site on November 22nd, on a special flight. The individual remained in isolation until departing the site.
A contact tracing exercise was conducted that identified 16 people who may have been in contact with the individual. All potential contacts were placed in isolation, and all tested negative on November 21st. As a preventive measure, these people were extracted from site on November 22nd and will be re-tested prior to returning to site.
Although the contamination risk is deemed low, all common areas at the Meliadine mine have been temporarily closed for extensive cleaning and disinfection. As a preventive measure, all employees on site were re-tested on November 22nd, and all tests were negative.
We are working closely with Nunavut’s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer and we are following their recommendations. Mandatory masks and hygiene protocols were followed by employees prior to boarding the flight, during the flight, as well as for the bus transfer to the mine sites.
The risk of transmission to the community of Rankin Inlet is very low. The mines implemented precautionary measures in March to isolate themselves from the community, including by having its Nunavummiut workers stay at home with 75% of their base salary to eliminate the potential risk of transmission of COVID-19 into the communities. The isolation of the Meliadine mine remains a priority, including during the transportation process of employees to site, in order to continue protecting the communities.