OUR RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

At Impala Canada, the health and safety of our workforce and our communities is our number one priority. 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 (LDI) and we have implemented pandemic protocols to further protect our team members, their families, and the communities we share.

Following the presence of COVID-19 at LDI in early April, the mine site was placed in care and maintenance for a six-week period. During this time, we 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 anywhere on site wherever physical distancing is difficult
  • Bringing an enhanced focus to personal hygiene and sanitation practices throughout the mine site

On May 18th, LDI resumed its operations with an enhanced and renewed vigilance toward reducing the contraction and spread of this virus. The circumstances surrounding the pandemic are dynamic and evolving and we continue to advance our protocols as more is learned about the virus.

Over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted each and every one of us at LDI, creating personal, community and workplace challenges. Stronger together, our team perseveres during this time with patience, strength and fortitude. 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 and healthy.

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 Canada Guidelines
  • Maintain physical distancing, where possible
  • Wear face masks when travelling with two or more people in any form of transportation
  • Refrain from visiting local communities as you travel
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Mask Policy

We understand the potential for coronavirus transmission increases when indoors and in situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained.  As such and as an added layer of protection, masks must be worn at all times anywhere at LDI wherever physical distancing is difficult. This includes the requirement to wear masks when entering and walking around any camp or administrative building, including when walking the hallways of the cafeteria, kitchen and bunkhouse. 

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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 difficult, team members are required to wear masks in addition to the required workplace PPE. Masks must be worn on buses and in company vehicles when 2 or more individuals are present (on or off site) at all times. Team members are trained on the proper methods for putting on and taking off masks, and how to maintain proper mask hygiene.

A mask is not required: in operating areas and facilities, provided physical distancing can be maintained. When working in operating areas and facilities, a mask does not need to be worn provided physical distancing can be maintained.

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Living at LDI

Several procedures have been developed to reduce the risk of infection while living on-site.  As an added layer of protection, masks must be worn at all times when walking around indoor hallways, cafeteria, bunkhouse and communal areas.  When at camp destination, masks may be removed, provided team members remain at least 6ft apart.

Dining Area

  • Requirement to wear a mask when walking through 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 multiple 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

We understand that because of specific reasons related to COVID-19some people will still be unable to report to work. These individuals will be provided unpaid, job-protected leave and they will continue to receive health and medical insurance coverage. Individuals on unpaid, job-protected leave will be entitled to apply for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

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