Coronavirus

De Beers begins Covid-19 testing at Gahcho Kué, Snap Lake


De Beers, the operator of one working diamond mine and one shuttered facility in the Northwest Territories, will begin Covid-19 testing at both.

The company runs the Gahcho Kué mine, which has remained in operation despite the pandemic, and the Snap Lake mine site, where active mining ended in 2015 but care-and-maintenance work continues.

De Beers Group said Covid-19 tests began on Sunday for “all outbound employees and contractors” at both sites.

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The tests are being processed at the nearby Diavik mine, operated by Rio Tinto, where a research group opened a lab earlier this month. Diavik managers say anyone working at that mine is being tested on arrival and before leaving.

De Beers said testing at Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué was “in addition to extensive preventative measures already in place.”

Those measures include daily monitoring and temperature checks before work begins, a two-week period of physical distancing before employees travel to the mines, and longer shift rotations to reduce the frequency with which staff must travel.

“Testing will go a long way to prevent potentially asymptomatic individuals from transmitting the virus to their home communities,” said Lyndon Clark, Gahcho Kué’s general manager.

De Beers thanked Rio Tinto, Diavik, and lab operator GuardRX for their support.

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The NWT’s other diamond mine, Ekati, has been closed since March owing to the pandemic.

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