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COVID-19 weekly update: Resources & METS sector

A healthy dose of optimism underpins many of this week’s company updates. A number of operations are set to resume as jurisdictions ease lockdown restrictions; however, we still see few companies unscathed as suspension of operations and withdrawal of production guidance persist. Aspermont’s Research and Intelligence Unit brings subscribers the latest weekly resources and METS 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 has claimed 264,000 lives to date

Aspermont Research & Intelligence

Week 17 (01/05/2020-07/05/2020)

Company news 

Americas 

  • Agnico Eagle reopens mines in Quebec; expects to ramp up mining and milling in Nunavut to full capacity in June; working to restart Mexico in early June; however, revises 2020 guidance to reflect the impact of production shutdowns.
  • Yamana Gold increases its annual dividend 25% to US6.25c/share despite reducing full-year production guidance.
  • B2Gold reports record revenue, cashflow, gold production, and increase in dividend amid minimal impact on operations from COVID-19.
  • Americas Gold and Silver suspends its 2020 production guidance, blaming the pandemic for a slower-than-planned ramp-up of its Relief Canyon mine. 
  • Kirkland Lake begins to recall employees who were sent home under its counter measures in gradual ramp-up of operations; does not expect to achieve full production during the current quarter. 

EMEA

  • Iluka Resources' customers, and their customers, hit by pandemic, as it flags significantly lower zircon sales, rising supply chain risks for Sierra Rutile, and project delays; remains prepared to ramp back up production as soon as demand recovers.
  • Lynas Corporation's Kuantan separation plant will restart production at 70% after the Malaysian government eased COVID-19 restrictions on manufacturers. 
  • Zest WEG uses pioneering remote witness testing procedure for variable speed drives (VSD) being supplied to a mining project in the DRC, enabling the project to avoid COVID-19-related delays. 
  • Buffalo Coal says it has implemented a "no work, no pay" policy since the extension of South Africa's national lockdown in mid-April, due to the uncertainty on the timeline for lifting restrictions and the impact of any potential COVID-19 cases. 
  • Alrosa suspends mining activity at its Aikhal underground mine and the Zarya openpit mines in Yakutia due to an expected decline in demand. 
  • Harmony Gold withdraws annual production guidance.

Australasia

  • Panoramic Resources lays off some head office staff and executive pays.
  • Worley Parsons sacks 3000 workers amid project cancellations and delays. 
  • Monadelphous unable to make forecasts on the likely outcome of its financial year ending with the June quarter
  • Platina Resources extends a memorandum of understanding with global trader Traxys Europe over potential funding for the company's scandium project in central New South Wales for another six months.

Commodities & market outlook

  • Reuters reports that Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank) has told its staff it will close its metals business.
  • BMO warns in a research note against the risk of underestimating China's metal intensity as the country embarks on a recovery path.

Industry bodies, government departments & regulators

  • The government of Ecuador expects to be able to reopen the mining sector within weeks following its suspension as part of efforts to control the spread of the virus, deputy mining minister Fernando Benalcazar says.
  • The government of Mexico decrees an extension of the suspension of all non-essential activities until May 30, though it will cease to be applicable as of May 18 in municipalities with few or no known cases or transmission. 

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