The NWT’s Diavik diamond mine will in August move some workers to a shift pattern of three weeks at the mine followed by three weeks off.
In late March, at the height of concern in the NWT about the Covid-19 pandemic, Diavik instructed some staff to work at the mine for almost a month at a time, working for four weeks then taking four weeks at home.
Ordinarily, those employees and contractors would work a fly-in, fly-out two-week rotation.
At the time, a spokesperson for the mine said the change was to reduce travel to and from the site during the pandemic.
In the past few days, staff have been told this will now be relaxed slightly to a three-on, three-off rotation.
“Beginning August 26, 2020, Diavik will move to a three weeks on, three weeks off rotation for all crews in order to better support employee wellbeing and maintain a safe and productive workplace,” a spokesperson told Cabin Radio on Monday.
“This change has been made in consultation with our medical director and endorsed by the Chief Public Health Officer of the NWT.
“All other Covid-19 precautions, including inbound and outbound testing, physical distancing, increased cleaning and hygiene, and the use of facial barriers are still in effect.”
Diavik is one of two diamond mines actively operating in the NWT.
The other, Gahcho Kué, is operated by De Beers. After this article was first published, a De Beers spokesperson told Cabin Radio: “Our current four-week-on, four-week-off rotation has proven effective and we do not have any immediate plans to amend it.”
Ordinarily, the territory has three working mines. However, the third – Ekati – has been in care-and-maintenance mode since March owing to the pandemic. Owner Dominion said closing Ekati was the safest course of action while Covid-19 remained a threat.