Giant Mine cleanup work scaled down after Covid-19 exposure


Cleanup work at Yellowknife’s former Giant Mine will be limited to essential activities after a subcontracted worker tested positive for Covid-19.

Natalie Plato, a spokesperson for the federally led Giant Mine remediation project, confirmed a worker tested positive on Wednesday. “Essential work only” will take place for the next eight days.

That essential work includes daily boiler and building mechanical checks, road maintenance like snow removal, inspections of creeks, dams, and surface water, and electrical infrastructure maintenance and operation.

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“To comply with direction received from the Yellowknife Covid-19 Outbreak Response Team, all confirmed contacts are now in isolation,” Plato said by email.

“For the next eight days, work on site will be limited to essential work only. The main construction manager has applied for exemption from the chief public health officer so a small team can continue the essential services required to keep the Giant Mine site in a safe and regulatory-compliant state as part of its larger care and maintenance scope of work.

“The employees required to carry out these routine tasks can work independently and without being in contact with other site staff or workers, and have each received at least two vaccine doses.”

Yellowknife had 21 active Covid-19 cases as of Thursday. While only one NWT case has been formally confirmed as the Omicron variant, Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola told the CBC she expects some of the other active cases are also caused by Omicron.

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While not all cases have been sequenced in a laboratory yet, Dr Kandola told the broadcaster: “Because of the areas that people are coming from and the type of symptoms, and how rapid it’s transmitted among their contacts, I would say it’s likely Omicron.”