The Quebec Mining Association (QMA) has welcomed the announcement of the continuation of mining operations, despite the total containment decreed by the provincial government late on January 6.
The association says this exemption for the industry is the result of robust measures that the mining industry has deployed to limit the spread of Covid-19 on mining sites.
Quebec has announced new Covid-related restrictions that include a night-time curfew and the closure of some workplaces that are non-essential, to clamp down on the second wave of the pandemic being experienced in Canada.
Quebec reported 2 641 new Covid-19 cases on January 6, which has been the average daily new case rate since December 25. The new measures will be effective until February 8.
The QMA highlights that, as occupational health and safety has always been a core part of mining operations, companies have been monitoring operations and procedures to limit the spread of the virus. Some companies also have their own laboratories to conduct screening tests.
“Nothing has been left to chance in the mining industry and, by allowing the mines to continue production, the government recognises that the actions taken by the industry have paid off, as evidenced by the small number of cases on mining work teams,” the association says.
The QMA adds that the mining industry has always endeavoured to ensure the socioeconomic prosperity of Quebec and other regions, which is why the government identified it as one of the key sectors for economic recovery.
This government's decision to maintain mining activities is, therefore, consistent with the country’s recovery plan, which focuses particularly on the electrification of transport and the second and third transformation of mineral resources.
The QMA says the continuation of mining operations is also in line with the deployment of the Northern Action Plan that was recently unveiled by the government, which aims to create jobs in remote areas.
The association points out that the mining industry will also be able to maintain its competitiveness in relation to other jurisdictions where production continues and therefore meet the needs of the various supply chains, specifically for the production of medical equipment.
"We understand that the health and safety of the population must take precedence. That is why the mining industry took the issue very seriously at the onset. Economics will never take [priority] over health and safety and no compromise will be made on this aspect.
“The results of the measures put in place speak for themselves: it is possible to operate our mines safely. By its decision to maintain mining activities, the government comes to the same conclusion and it is reassuring for our industry and the economies of several regions,” says QMA president and CEO Josée Méthot.
Since its founding in 1936, the QMA has been a proactive voice for mining companies in production, exploration and processing, mining contractors, developing mining companies, as well as suppliers, institutions, nonprofit organisations and various mining partners.