Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 10, 2011 - 11:04 am

Fire takes out Meadowbank mine’s kitchen

Company to evacuate 300 workers

JANE GEORGE
Fire swept through the kitchen of Agnico-Eagle's Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake on March 10, leading to the evacuation of 300 workers. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AEM ON FACEBOOK)
Fire swept through the kitchen of Agnico-Eagle's Meadowbank mine near Baker Lake on March 10, leading to the evacuation of 300 workers. (PHOTO COURTESY OF AEM ON FACEBOOK)

Three-hundred employees at Agnico-Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine near Baker Lake will fly out from their work site today, after a fire in the early hours of March 10 caused extensive damage to the kitchen and nearby offices.

”By six o’clock, about 300 individuals will have been evacuated,” said Denis Gourde, Agnico Eagle’s regional manager for Nunavut, from Toronto where he has been attending meetings.

After the evacuation, about 160 workers will remain on site to keep the gold mine in production, he said.

“Over the short-term, we will maintain the same pace,” Gourde said.

“And we will are looking at how we can bring in the equipment needed so we can bring people back as quickly as possible. For the moment, it’s too early to say what the impact will be on our production, but we’re going to do the most we can to minimize the impact.”

No one was injured in the fire, Gourde said, praising the on-site firefighters who did all they could to limit the damage.

As soon as a fire alarm sounded at about 4 a.m., the mine’s firefighters responded immediately, Gourde said.

Emergency measures were implemented and employees assembled in the gymnasium area as a precautionary measure.

Camp dormitories, the camp’s electrical system and its water system were not affected by the blaze.

One of the mine’s two food warehouses, which contains frozen food, escaped damage, Gourde said.

But a food storage area containing perishable foods, the camp cafeteria and nearby offices were lost in the fire, he said.

The mine’s nearby exploration camp kitchen has enough food to feed the mine’s 460 employees and the 50 workers at its exploration camp for today, Gourde said.

By the 6:00 p.m. March 10, Agnico-Eagle will have flown about 300 workers out of its Meadowbank mine site, in the wake of a fire that destroyed the mine site’s kitchen. (FILE PHOTO)
By the 6:00 p.m. March 10, Agnico-Eagle will have flown about 300 workers out of its Meadowbank mine site, in the wake of a fire that destroyed the mine site’s kitchen. (FILE PHOTO)
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