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Major mines prepare for new mask mandate
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Major mines prepare for new mask mandate

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NGM social distancing - Gold Quarry lab

Employees at the Nevada Gold Mines Carlin Gold Quarry lab are shown in May 2020 as they implemented COVID-19 preventative actions such as social distancing and mask-wearing, a policy that returned across NGM sites and on commutes effective July 30.

Most of northeastern Nevada’s major mine operators reported that they plan to follow the latest federal and state recommendations on wearing face coverings indoors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers from Disease Control and Prevention announced July 27 that vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in areas of high disease transmission — including Elko County and White Pine County — should wear masks in indoor public spaces. Gov. Steve Sisolak directed any CDC guidance as automatically binding in Nevada.

The mines in northeastern Nevada are centered mostly in Eureka, Elko and White Pine counties, although much of the workforce dwells in Elko County, which has been flagged as an area with high COVID-19 transmission.

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Nevada Gold Mines, which employs about 7,000 people, said it will implement the directive across all operations and require employees to wear masks indoors and while commuting to work effective 12:01 a.m. on July 30.

Jerritt Canyon Gold, purchased earlier this year by First Majestic Silver Corp., employs nearly 300 people at two mines in the Independence Mountains. Michael Deal, Jerritt Canyon general manager, said the operation plans to follow CDC and state guidance and that message was communicated to the teams on July 28.

“In addition, we are currently working with a medical provider to schedule voluntary vaccination events onsite in the near future for convenience and to promote participation,” Deal said.

A Kinross Bald Mountain spokesperson said employees on site would be required to abide by the CDC and state guidelines.

“Masks will be required indoors for all employees and contractors regardless of vaccination status,” the spokesperson said. “Masks will also be required on the buses and in vehicles with more than one person.” 

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