South American gold mine closed over union dispute following COVID-19 outbreak

TORONTO — Iamgold Corp. says it has suspended operations at its Rosebel Gold Mine in the South American country of Suriname after seven people were diagnosed with COVID-19, sparking a showdown with its union.

The Canadian mining company says it proceeded with getting medical care and putting the individuals in quarantine while disinfecting their living quarters and work areas.

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Operations were shut down, it said, when a conflict with the local union broke out over its attempt to support physical distancing by reducing the number of workers sharing accommodations.

It says it decided to suspend operations until appropriate controls are in place to protect all employees.

Iamgold says Rosebel's managers are in ongoing communication with employees, health authorities and the community.

The South American mine accounts for a little more than one-third of Iamgold's gold production. The company also operates the Essakane mine in Africa and the Westwood mine in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:IMG)

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