OUR RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Impala Canada has made a number of significant changes to the way we live and work at our Lac des Iles Mine to protect our team members, their families, and the communities we share.

The circumstances surrounding the pandemic are dynamic and evolving and we continue to advance our response as more is learned about the virus. Regrettably, we had a COVID-19 outbreak at LDI in early April and several employees were affected. Stronger together, our team persevered during this time with patience, strength and fortitude.

When the virus first appeared at LDI we took immediate action. We temporarily shut down operations, exited and isolated our workforce and worked collaboratively with public health on extensive contact-tracing efforts.

The mine was in Care and Maintenance mode between April 13 and May 18, 2020. During that time, we completed a comprehensive sanitization of our entire site. We also analyzed our outbreak and re-engineered certain pandemic protocols to further reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. These efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Screening individuals earlier and more often for possible symptoms of COVID-19
  • Requiring everyone to wear facial masks in situations where physical distancing is more difficult
  • Bringing an enhanced focus to personal hygiene and sanitation practices throughout the mine site

As a company and as individuals, we are strictly following all protocols outlined in our COVID-19 Pandemic Protocols and Guidebook every day and remain focused on keeping ourselves – and each other – safe.

Symptom Screening Protocols

We symptom-screen all team members at four distinct points:

  • Before travelling to LDI
  • Before entering LDI
  • As part of the daily Five-Point Safety Check
  • Before departing LDI

Temperatures are checked upon site entry and exit. Select individuals who interact with multiple crews have their temperatures checked daily. Those who are not cleared at any of these checkpoints will be denied entry or required to self-isolate.

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Travelling To and From LDI

All team members travelling to and from LDI, are required to:

  • Follow Transportation Cananda Guidelines
  • Maintain physical distancing practice
  • Refrain from visiting local communities along the way
  • Wear face masks when travelling on any forms of group transportation
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Working at LDI

To make physical distancing even easier, we have staggered shifts to keep fewer people in:

  • Transport vehicles
  • Crew line-ups
  • The underground cage

In select work situations where physical distancing is harder to maintain, team members are required to wear face masks in addition to the required workplace PPE. Depending on the environment, this may include using personal disinfecting kits and wearing:

  • An industrial face mask
  • Nitrile gloves
  • A face shield
  • Disposable garments

Team members are trained on the proper methods for putting on and taking off PPE, and how to maintain proper mask hygiene.

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Living at LDI

Several procedures have been developed to reduce the risk of infection while living on-site.

Dining Area

  • Mandatory hand-washing at entry point for dining area
  • Scheduled mealtimes and adjusted shift schedules now ensure fewer than 50 people in the cafeteria at any one time
  • Internal walls have been built to separate dining areas
  • Chairs have been staggered and moved further apart
  • Foot-traffic routes have been reconfigured to ensure physical distancing
  • All self-serve food items and utensils are now pre-packaged to prevent cross-contamination
  • Seats and tables are disinfected after each diner
  • Information on proper hand washing and necessary physical distancing practices is posted on cafeteria doors

Housekeeping

  • Janitorial and housekeeping staff have further increased sanitation routines throughout the camp, cafeteria and living quarters
  • In addition to the existing cleaning regimen in public areas, a more frequent disinfectant wipe-down of walls, floors and surfaces in rooms has been added
  • At crew change-over, all rooms are completely sanitized in addition to the existing linens change-out
  • The temperatures of the washers and dryers within our laundry facility have been increased
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COVID-19 Symptoms and Test Protocols

Team members are instructed to immediately self-isolate and contact the Health Centre at the first sign of any symptom – mild or severe. After being assessed, employees may be isolated within camp as a precaution, or may be sent home to self-isolate. Swab testing is available on-site, and tests are currently processed by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

Positive Test Protocol

In the event someone tests positive for COVID-19 while on-site, the individual will continue with his/her self-isolation and safe transportation off-site will be arranged, as possible. The individual’s room will be sealed upon their departure for deep cleaning.

Contact tracing will commence immediately, and individuals identified as having had close contact will be isolated for further assessment and action. They may be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will not report back to work until their case status is resolved. Individuals are considered resolved after 14 days have passed with no lingering symptoms after the initial onset of symptoms. 

Negative Test Protocol

Individuals who test negative for COVID-19 but have had known or presumed exposure to COVID-19 must remain in self-isolation for 14 days.

Individuals who are symptomatic, even if they test negative for COVID-19 and have had no known exposure to COVID-19, are asked not to report to work until they have been symptom-free for at least 24-48 hours.

Outbreak Protocol

In the event that five or more individuals test positive for COVID-19, we will enact Impala Canada’s Outbreak Response Plan to care for affected individuals and limit further spread of the virus. The plan reflects key learnings from our April 2020 outbreak and is reviewed frequently and updated where necessary.

At all times through outbreak management, we will closely collaborate with public health authorities and frequently communicate with all stakeholders. 

The status of LDI operations may be altered to facilitate contact tracing and virus containment efforts.

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Job Protection

Employees who are unable or unwilling to return to work when called during the State of Emergency in Ontario do not have to do so. We understand and respect this decision. Employees are encouraged to consider their personal health, family and community vulnerabilities to COVID-19 when making their decision whether or not to return to work. Employees who choose not to return to work during the State of Emergency will be placed on unpaid job-protected leave. They will continue to receive health and medical insurance coverage and will be entitled to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

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