On a global scale, 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.