THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Statement from Erin Satterthwaite, Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Communications for Impala Canada Ltd.
“The Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) has confirmed five additional individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 in connection with the Lac des Iles mine. Two of these individuals are on-site, in self-isolation and have been receiving medical care. Three individuals are at home in self-isolation. Testing is underway for two additional symptomatic individuals who are on-site, in isolation and under care by our Health Centre. Anyone showing any cold or flu-like symptoms is also in self-isolation. Our thoughts and concerns are with those members of our team infected with the virus.
Significant measures are in place to reduce the likelihood of further spread of the virus at the mine. In an effort to avoid an extended site quarantine, we have worked together with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to develop a safe and orderly departure plan that is in the best interests of our team and public health.
Today, April 13th, the majority of our on-site LDI team members (approximately 300) will depart from the site but continue to self-quarantine until Monday, April 27th (fourteen days from departure). TBDHU staff will be present to provide guidance, support and education. Based on individual assessments by the TBDHU staff on-site, those at low risk of the further potential spread of infection will be advised to self-quarantine at home. Those at higher risk of further potential spread of infection are being directed to self-quarantine at a designated hotel in Thunder Bay, where accommodation and meals will be covered by the Impala Canada. This includes any team member who requires air travel to return home or who lives in a remote community. All necessary pandemic response protocols will be in place at the hotel and inspected by TBDHU.
Our LDI operation will be on temporary care and maintenance by Monday, April 13th. The mill and surface projects are completely shut down. The underground mine is ramping down over the next 24 hours. A small care and maintenance crew of less than 50 individuals will remain on-site and all existing pandemic response protocols will be strictly followed. A care and maintenance shift change will occur in due course.
A small number of symptomatic individuals will remain on site for the time being, in isolation, under the care of medical professionals.
ALL LDI employees (approximately 720) will receive base compensation for the month of April 2020. Everyone leaving site today will be paid overtime (at the applicate overtime rate) for the hours that exceed their regular work schedule up to and including April 18th.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made for an uncertain world and shifting realities. We thank our entire LDI team for navigating this challenging time with strength and fortitude. Together with our collaborative partners at TBDHU, we are doing what is needed to be done to protect those closest to us and the Thunder Bay community.
LDI will remain on temporary care and maintenance for the time being and we will communicate resumption plans in due course. The best interests of public health and our team, their families and communities are the absolute priorities in determining when to ramp the operation back up.