Mountain Province Diamonds and De Beers have announced operations will resume at their Gahcho Kué diamond mine in the NWT.
In a news release on Friday, Mountain Province said a production crew will arrive at the mine this week and begin the buildup to production over the weekend.
“The return of our employees to site is a positive step for Gahcho Kué as we continue our safe ramp-up to steady-state operations,” Mountain Providence president and chief executive Stuart Brown said in a statement.
“It is important to keep our focus on maintaining a safe and secure site while balancing the need to make up for lost production as we navigate our way through the pandemic.”
The mine suspended production on February 6 after the NWT’s chief public health officer declared a Covid-19 outbreak at Gahcho Kué. More than 100 workers ended up isolating in Yellowknife as a result.
As of Tuesday, 19 workers had tested positive for Covid-19 – eight NWT residents and 11 from outside the territory.
Eleven of those workers have recovered. Three have required hospital treatment, including one worker who was medevaced to Edmonton on Wednesday.
A team of essential workers has remained at Gahcho Kué to maintain power, water treatment and roads, carry out maintenance work, and receive shipments.
Mountain Province said two industrial hygienists are reviewing work protocols and overseeing deep cleaning.
Like the neighbouring Diavik mine, Gahcho Kué will now introduce point-of-pickup rapid testing, meaning workers are tested before they depart for the mine. Both mines are also introducing mid-rotation testing.