A routine test for the miners of the North

Tests systématiques pour des mineurs du Nord

The workers of the Raglan nickel mine, in Nord-du-Québec, will be systematically tested for the COVID-19 in order to avoid that they carry the coronavirus in the land inuit.

“A mobile laboratory will be installed at the mine site. On their arrival, the employees will have to necessarily take the test and go in their room, waiting for the result, ” says Céliane Dorval, a spokesman for Glencore, the european multinational that owns the mine.

The tests will be conducted in the North because workers arrive from several cities : Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Rouyn-Noranda and Rimouski.

Before boarding the plane, they must fill out a medical questionnaire and have their temperature taken.

No inuit employees

To reduce the risk of contagion, the inuit employees of the mine will not be able to work until further notice.

The Inuit are “insulted” that Quebec has decided to revive the mining sector without consulting them, supports the Makivik Corporation, which represents their interests.

The Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, who is collaborating on the establishment of the laboratory of Raglan, ensures that the initiative will have no impact on the ability of screening to patients and health care workers. It has enough reagent and swabs to meet our needs, ” says a spokesman, Brian Atwood.

Recovery in the Abitibi

In the gold mines of the Abitibi region, the activities have also continued, but very gradually. “Usually, a raise of the work is done in two or three days, but this time, it will be spread over a month,” says Daniel Paré, vice-president of the mining Agnico Eagle.

Workers can no longer gather at the entrance to the mines, or in elevators or in cafeterias.

“Previously, people liked to discuss with their colleagues and take a coffee before going down under the earth, but this is no longer possible now,” said Mr. Paré. They have check-in times are specific and they are waiting in their vehicle before entering. ”

Five mining complexes had remained open despite the pause of Quebec, 25 march : ArcelorMittal (iron), Champion (iron), Seleine (salt), Niobec (niobium), and Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium.

The mining industry in Québec

  • 40 540 jobs
  • $8.5 billion in annual expenditures
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