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Mining operations grinding to a halt globally

Mining operations grinding to a halt globally

Sibanye Still water

For most Mining companies globally, work is grinding to a halt and operations at mines are being temporarily suspended as majors and minors move to enact measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19.

With governments from Africa to Latin America issuing lockdown orders, unprecedented disruptions to operations and supply chains are threatening the outlook for industrial and precious metals. Most of the majors have announced halts at gold-copper operations.

  • On Wednesday, Codelco, the world’s largest copper miner, said it will temporarily suspend construction on some projects. Codelco said the 15-day suspension applied to remaining work being carried out to make Chuquicamata an underground mine, and projects at an early stage at Rajo Inca and Traspaso Andina.
  • Sibanye-Stillwater announced on Wednesday that it has begun implementing measures to place its South African gold and PGM operations under temporary care and maintenance, in accordance with the nation-wide lockdown for 21 days, effective midnight on Thursday.
  • Miners in Ecuador are now temporarily halting all activity in the country, following the government’s call to stay home.
  • In response to the country’s lockdown effort to slow the spread of covid-19, AngloGold Ashanti announced Tuesday it will temporarily suspend production from its South Africa operations for three weeks as of midnight on 26 March 2020.
  • OceanaGold announced that the Waihi gold operation in the North Island of New Zealand will temporarily suspend the ongoing development of the Martha underground mine and go into care and maintenance for four weeks in response to measures put in place by the New Zealand government.
  • On Tuesday, Yamana Gold (TSX:YRI, NYSE:AUY) announced that it will scale back operations at its Canadian Malartic mine, Canada’s largest gold mine.
  • Rio Tinto’s Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa will halt production by midnight Thursday. The company will put furnaces on care and maintenance. Rio Tinto will also slow production of aluminum assets in Canada.
  • Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine in Canada will be on care and maintenance for four weeks, copper-concentrate production at Long Harbour will be reduced proportionally to the period of the stoppage.
  • Egypt-focused gold miner Centamin said on Wednesday that operations at its Sukari gold mine remained unaffected by covid-19, adding it had stockpiled enough critical supplies to last until the end of June.

Last week, producers across South America, where the bulk of the world’s copper is produced, halted or cut back operations and slowed construction.

  • Hong Kong-listed MMG said last Thursday that operations at its Las Bambas mine, with expected production in the 360kt range for this year had been reduced temporarily after Peru declared a state of emergency.
  • Anglo American said it will slow the building of its $5 billion Quellaveco project in Peru and on Thursday the miner said it is scaling down operations at its Los Bronces copper mine in Chile. The company will also reschedule work at mines in countries such as Chile.
  • Teck Resources said on Wednesday it is temporarily suspending construction activities at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) copper project in Chile. The project is expected to have an initial mine life of 28 years, producing 316,000 tonnes of copper equivalent annually.
  • The world’s no 2 copper producer, Chile’s state-owned Codelco, said on Wednesday it planned to reduce its operations but sales, shipments of copper are not yet hit by coronavirus.
  • BHP said so far the pandemic has not affected output. Reuters reports unionized workers at the Escondida mine in Chile operated by BHP requested a halt to operations unless management begins to implement stricter health and safety measures. Escondida is the largest copper mine in the world by a wide measure and was projected to produce some 1.2 million tonnes this year.
  • Freeport-McMoRan said this week it is suspending operations at its 350kt per year Cerro Verde mine in Peru for at least 15 days.
  • Antofagasta PLC said on Friday it would put parts of its Los Pelambres expansion project on care and maintenance as the Chilean miner reduced the number of staff to reduce risk of coronavirus infection. Los Pelambres had production of 357,800 tonnes in 2018.
  • Glencore’s Mopani copper mines unit in Zambia said on Friday it would review all parts of its business due to the increasing economic uncertainty.

Zimbabwean Miners save for the ZMF have not yet issued any statements regarding the world-wide Coronavirus Pandemic that is now in the country.

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Henrietta Rushwaya

Mining[.] com

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