Nunavut Mining Symposium cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns

The Nunavut Mining Symposium Society has decided to cancel the upcoming symposium due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. 

7 government employees who attended PDAC convention self-monitoring for symptoms

The 2020 Nunavut Mining Symposium has been cancelled due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Pictured here is a talk at the 2018 symposium. (Travis Burke/CBC)

The Nunavut Mining Symposium Society has decided to cancel the upcoming symposium due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. 

The cancellation is on the advice of Nunavut's Chief Public Health Officer Mike Patterson. 

The symposium was scheduled to run from March 30 to April 2 in Iqaluit. 

"We recognize that our event attracts a significant number of people from around Nunavut and Canada," said Bernie MacIsaac, vice-president of the society. "Current best practices to help contain the illness include reducing large public gatherings, so this is what helped guide the decision."

MacIsaac said refunds will be issued to sponsors and delegates. 

Iqaluit hotels are aware of the cancellation and the Frobisher Inn, Capital Suites and Discovery will issue refunds without cancellation fees.

Plane tickets will have change fees waived by Canadian North or the airline will allow tickets to be exchanged for travel credit valid for one year from the date the flight was booked. 

There are no plans to reschedule the symposium at this time, but the symposium is expected to be held next year as planned. 

The Nunavut Mining Symposium brings people from across Nunavut and Canada to Iqaluit. (Travis Burke/CBC)

7 government employees self-monitoring for COVID-19

Nunavut's Department of Economic Development and Transportation sent seven employees to the PDAC (Prospectors, Developers Association of Canada) convention on mining exploration in Toronto last week. 

A man from Sudbury who attended the convention has now tested positive for COVID-19. Thousands attended the convention, which ran from Feb. 29 to March 4. 

The government of Nunavut says the risk is minimal, as none of the seven employees have reported any symptoms — though the seven are staying home as a precaution. 

The employees are "self-monitoring" not in insolation, which means they are at low risk of exposure and are well. They can participate in most daily activities, but should avoid large gatherings. 

They can work in an office or at a desk with one-metre separation from others and get groceries, but should avoid face to face meetings, air travel and dining at restaurants. 

In a response to CBC, a spokesperson said government staff have been reminded about the importance of avoiding touching your face, coughing or sneezing into your elbow and staying home if you're sick. 

Baffinland hearings to go ahead 

As of now, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) plans to go ahead with the Baffinland Mary River mine technical hearings scheduled to start on Monday. 

The hearings are expected to run for eight days, ending on March 25 in Iqaluit.

In an email to its distribution list, the NIRB said it was monitoring all health advisories and planned to go ahead with the meetings unless the direction from the local health authorities changes. 

It asks participants to stay home if they are ill, otherwise all participants should limit unnecessary socializing, have contingency plans for a cancellation on short notice and wash their hands frequently.

There are currently no positive cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut or any of the territories

Nunavut has tested individuals for the virus, but all test kits have come back from the lab in Winnipeg negative. 

With files from Eva Michael, Beth Brown