Steady gold output at Brucejack so far
Travel restrictions, crew shortage pose biggest production risk North of 60 Mining News – April 3, 2020
Last updated 9/26/2020 at 12:46pm
Pretium Resources Inc. April 2 reported that the COVID-19 outbreak has not disrupted production at its Brucejack gold mine in the Tahltan Territory of northwestern British Columbia and the company is operating the remote underground mine under the strict guidance and directives of federal, provincial and regional health authorities.
In order to minimize the number of individuals on site at Brucejack, only personnel necessary to support gold production will continue to work at the mine. As a result, Pretium has put all capital projects and expansion drilling on hold and demobilized the crews.
The company has also increased the work rotation at the mine from two weeks on and two weeks off to rotations every three weeks to minimize travel. The company is considering three weeks on and one week off if this schedule is approved by provincial authorities.
Pretium said the risk from travel restrictions pose a significant risk to remote mines like Brucejack and the company has established protocols in the event that the number of employees available for operations is limited. These contingencies include prioritizing gold production over development and reducing mill rates should the ore supply be insufficient to operate at full capacity.
The company said safety is its number one priority and enhanced health checks by qualified professionals are being conducted for all personnel prior to boarding transportation to and from Brucejack, and additional crew buses are in service to ensure social distancing during transit.
Social distancing protocols are in force at all site facilities, and "high-touch" surfaces are being disinfected with increased frequency.
Brucejack's camp facilities support self-isolation and if a crewmember experiences symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, the individual will remain in quarantine for a proscribed duration and under the evaluation of medical staff.
Pretium said its clinic staff are monitoring the COVID-19 crisis and are engaged with Northern Health to continuously discuss and manage the company's operational protocols.
Pretium realizes that the remote and dispersed communities of northwestern B.C are at particular risk as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as access to healthcare can be a geographical challenge. The company said it is committed to mitigating the risk of exposure to its staff, their families and neighboring communities in the region.
The gold miner said it is also engaging with local communities to address concerns as well as to share and develop strategies to address the challenges posed by COVID-19.
As of April 2, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Brucejack.