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COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector

Delays in remobilisation of operations and further mine closures continue to be announced. However, we note several restarts to mining which highlights the differences in jurisdictional response to COVID-19. We also see companies begin to move past an initial state of shock and mobilise into action by announcing disaster mitigation tactics such as cost-saving initiatives, in the case of many juniors. On the other hand, majors look to provide relief packages to host government and communities in the fight against the pandemic. Aspermont’s Research and Intelligence Unit brings subscribers the latest weekly resources sector updates in response to COVID-19.
COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in the mining sector

Aspermont Research & Intelligence

Editor's Note: Mining Journal is making some of its most important coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic freely available to readers. For more coverage, please see our COVID-19 hub. To subscribe to Mining Journal, click here

Week Thirteen (03/04/20-09/04/20)

Company news

Americas

  • Caterpillar institutes a freeze on executive base pay increases in 2020 to stave off the worst effects of COVID-19.
  • New Gold announces systematic ramp-up of operations at its Rainy River operation in Ontario following completion of a voluntary 14-day suspension to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Goldsource Mines temporarily suspends drilling and exploration activities at Eagle Mountain for a period of 30 days following COVID-19 policies and guidelines by both Canadian and Guyanese authorities.
  • First Quantum decides to place its Cobre Panama operation onto care and maintenance due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • Nevada Copper stops copper production at Pumpkin Hollow operation in Nevada, amid government measures and other impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Hecla Mining announces an extension of suspended operations at Casa Berardi until 4 May, to comply with the Government of Quebec's stay-at-home order.
  • Coeur Mining announces temporary suspension of operations at its Palmarejo gold-silver complex in Mexico to comply with a government-mandated decree in response to COVID-19, expected to last until 30 April.
  • Franco-Nevada Corporation suspends its 2020 guidance; says production at 11 of its 56 producing royalty assets either curtailed or suspended in response to COVID-19.
  • Vale extends the care and maintenance period at its Voisey's Bay mine in Canada for up to three months as it monitors the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Atico Mining reports a substantial increase in first quarter production at its El Roble copper-gold mine in Colombia, despite a reduced workforce and strict protocols in response to COVID-19.
  • GoGold temporarily suspends non-essential services at the Parral operation in Mexico following government restrictions in relation to COVID-19 until 30 April.
  • Newmont announces ramp-down of operations at the Peñasquito mine in Mexico following the government's implementation of COVID-19 restrictions until 30 April.
  • Capstone Mining scales back mining and processing activities at its Cozamin operation in Zacatecas, Mexico, to comply with a government-mandated suspension until 30 April of all non-essential activities as result of COVID-19.
  • Yamana Gold announces remobilisation of local workers at Cerro Moro after the Argentine government declared mining an essential service.

EMEA

  • Centamin, operator of the Sukari Gold Mine, announces that it has committed E£10 million (US$635,000), to support Egypt's response efforts to combat COVID-19.
  • Anglo American says it's committed to paying the salaries of all 47,000 employees in South Africa during the country's current 21-day lockdown to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Kazatomprom expects Kazakhstan's 2020 annual uranium production volume to decrease by up to 4,000 tU from previous expectations (previously 22,750 tU to 22,800 tU on a 100% basis) as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Sandvik withdraws dividend proposal in view of increased economic uncertainty and as a precautionary measure driven by COVID-19.
  • Barrick Gold donates US$530,000 to Zambia's government in the fight against COVID-19; announces a US$1.5 million support program to help combat and contain the pandemic in the DRC; contributes US$1.7 million in critical equipment and expertise to help prevent the spread of the virus in Tanzania.
  • Perseus Mining says it will donate a total of US$387,500 to assist governments and communities in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire in their efforts to fight the spread of COVID-19 in West Africa.
  • Mali Lithium announces a 20% reduction in board fees, in addition to staff redundancies and a reduction of hours for the remaining senior management amid COVID-19 volatility.
  • Resolute Mining advises it has committed more than US$1 million to support African host governments in their response efforts to combat COVID-19.
  • Tharisa announces approval by the South African government to recommence mining activities at a reduced rate ahead of lifting the wider lockdown measures.
  • Cora Gold suspends current drill programme at the Madina Foulbé Permit in eastern Senegal amid COVID-19 concerns.

Australasia

  • Stanmore Coal's board recommends shareholders take no action regarding a US$256 million cash bid for its shares from Golden Investments; questions remain over whether federal treasurer will stop the takeover under recent foreign investment review guidelines imposed during COVID-19 crisis.
  • Ardea Resources' board agree to a 20% director's fee reduction, with full-time staff agreeing to a 20% reduction in working hours and consequent drop in remuneration from 1 April, to help minimise expenditure amid COVID-19 volatility.
  • White Rock Minerals' board and management team agree to a uniform 30% reduction in fees during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Newcrest Mining stumps up A$20 million to work on a vaccine for COVID-19 and to boost Papua New Guinea's preparations for and management of the pandemic.
  • Alta Zinc directors agree to have cash compensation reduced by 50 per cent for a period of up to six months, with effect from 1 April. 

Commodities & market outlook

  • Jefferies says voluntary production cuts will be needed to balance the markets in light of price weaknesses during COVID-19 turbulence.
  • Roskill downgrades lithium demand amidst COVID-19 pandemic; highlights slow EV sales and weaker global economic performance.
  • RBC reports rampant demand destruction courtesy of COVID-19 will far outweigh any supply constraints and could affect metals' pricing for years to come.

Industry bodies, government departments & regulators

  • Western Australia hardens its border; stops those from the states and territories to its east entering from April 5; also removes the exemption from the 14-day self-isolation that most interstate fly-in, fly-out workers were granted.
  • Queensland cancels the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference 2020, previously scheduled to be held from August 23 to August 26, in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Junta de Andalucía regional government clarifies that Atalaya's copper project in southwestern Spain is classed an essential operation; lifts the stoppage ordered by the Spanish government at the end of March.
  • The World Gold Council reports gold ETFs listed in all global regions experienced strong inflows during March against the backdrop of COVID-19 uncertainty, which continues to encourage inflows into safe-havens like treasuries and gold.
  • The Greenland government waives mineral exploration licence obligations and expenditures through to year end as part of its relief package to the mining sector amid COVID-19.

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