De Beers has sent home workers at its Gahcho Kue diamond mine as a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19.
“Fifteen Gahcho Kue mine employees and contractors who live in small, primarily fly-in communities have been requested to return home or to remain at home as a precautionary step to reduce the chance of transmission of COVID-19 into these communities,” company spokesperson Terry Kruger said on Friday.
The mine remains in operation.
“These workers live in Whati, Gameti, Lutsel K’e, Jean Marie River, Tulita, Fort Good Hope, Deline and Fort McPherson, each of which is only accessible by air or is more than three hours by road from advanced medical help.
“De Beers Group recognizes that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing. By asking these employees and contractors to return or remain at home for the next month, the company is minimizing the risk of transmission to some of the NWT’s remote communities.”
The move is the most recent measure taken since the end of February to safeguard the health of employees.
Other measures include limiting access to the mine to only those required to support operations, temperature screening of everyone flying to the site, setting up of quarantine areas, added sanitization of high contact areas, encouraging any staff who are feeling unwell to call in sick and mandatory hand washing for anyone entering the dining area, and other restrictions to limit items needed to be handled by staff.
De Beers joins Dominion Diamond Mines and Diavik in taking extra measures to guard against COVID-19. Dominion suspended operations at its Ekati mine on Thursday and Diavik sent home on Friday 50 employees who come from remote communities.