Rio Tinto has donated $150,000 to the Yellowknife Women’s Society to support its Covid-19 isolation centre at the former Arnica Inn.
In a news release on Thursday, the mining group – which operates and owns 60 percent of the NWT’s Diavik Diamond Mine – said the funding will help with accommodation and food for people at high risk for severe illness if they contract Covid-19.
The money will also support the hiring of three additional staff at the shelter.
“We believe that we all have a role to play in protecting and supporting each other through Covid-19,” Diavik’s president, Richard Storrie, was quoted as saying.
The keys to the former Arnica Inn were officially handed over to the women’s society on April 29.
The shelter currently has funding to house 25 people. Once the pandemic ends its rooms will transition to supportive housing.
“We are grateful to Rio Tinto for their support in meeting the needs of our community,” Bree Denning, the executive director of the Yellowknife Women’s Society, was quoted as saying.
Rio Tinto has pledged to contribute more than $700,000 to community partners and Covid-19 initiatives in the Northwest Territories.
So far, the company has helped to distribute personal protective equipment and donated more than $20,000 to food security initiatives like the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s food hamper program.
According to Paul Gruner, president and chief executive officer of the Det’on Cho Corporation, Rio Tinto helped provide food for more than 250 hampers delivered to Yellowknives Dene members.
Rio Tinto said it had doubled scholarship funds to help post-secondary students following the loss of job opportunities as a result of the pandemic.