Seabee suspends operations at northern Saskatchewan gold mine over COVID-19 threat

SSR Mining Inc. says more than 300 workers will be affected by its decision to suspend operations at the Seabee gold mine in northern Saskatchewan until April 30 due to the threat of COVID-19.

Spokesman Michael McDonald says the mine employs about 360 staff on two shifts and they will continue to be paid during the shutdown.

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About 20 people from each shift will remain to provide care and maintenance.

SSR says there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the Seabee workforce.

It says it will continue to engage with local health authorities and stakeholders to safely move workers at Seabee off-site and back to their home communities.

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CEO Paul Benson says the mine’s remote location and reliance on air transport to bring workers to and from the site necessitated the decision.

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“In these challenging times, more than anything else our top priority is to protect the health and well-being of our employees, their families and their communities,” he said.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers across Canada are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. In Saskatchewan, international travellers are already required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the province.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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