Gold leads as Mining Technology lists the top five terms tweeted in commodity markets in August 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform.

1. Gold – 1116 mentions

The increase in gold prices and Barrick Gold moving its listing to New York stock exchange (NYSE) were popularly discussed topics in August 2020. Kitco News, the media division of online precious metals dealer Kitco, tweeted a video interview of Frank Holmes, CEO of US Global Investors, an investment management firm. Holmes forecasts that gold is expected to reach the $4000 per ounce mark in the next few years. He added that gold prices have been raising 80% of the time since 2000 and that it is an important asset to make investments.

Luis Rivera, a gold and mining expert, shared an article about gold mining company Barrick Gold’s plans to move its listing from the Toronto stock exchange to NYSE. The article noted that the move could impact the company’s relations with Canada. The company’s CEO Mark Bristow noted that there are no immediate plans to move its listing but is considering the move due to the advantages provided by the US primary stock listing.

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By GlobalData

2. Silver – 540 mentions

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on silver mining companies and silver being considered as an important asset were popularly discussed during August 2020. David Morgan, an expert on gold and silver, shared an article on how the pandemic led to the decline in output of silver mining companies by 25% to 50% during the second quarter of 2020. These companies were able to keep production costs under control and the higher silver and gold rates helped in offsetting the decline in output. Production was resumed immediately after lockdown was lifted, which along with lower costs and higher prices may help increase profits in the future, the article noted.

Further, Kitco News, shared an article about investment bank TD Securities’ announcing that silver is the most valuable metal since it is consistently outperforming gold. The strong demand for silver from the industry coupled with healthy investment flows are the reasons behind silver’s dominance, offsetting disincentive created by the microstructure for silver traders, the article noted.

3. Coal – 172 mentions

The closure of one of the oldest commercial coal mines in the UK and the prices of iron ore surpassing coking coal were some popularly discussed topics in the month. Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Minerals, a price reporting agency for lithium ion batteries, shared an article about the closure of UK’s 200-year-old Bradley coal mine. The plan to expand the mine fell through, following opposition from environmental activists. UK’s yearly demand for eight million tonnes of coal is being met through imports from Russia and the US.

Further, Clyde Russel, a coal and renewable energy columnist with Reuters, shared his article about the disruptions in the commodity markets in 2020 as the price of coking coal has started exceeding that of iron ore. Both coking coal and iron ore are required to make steel and the price parity between the two has reached 99.6%. This new phenomenon is due to iron ore being more exposed to China compared to coking coal.

Iron ore imports account for 70% of China’s demand, while the country imports only 10% of coking coal. Coking coal imports to China dipped this year due to the pandemic and most of the demand was met through domestic sources. As steel output increases, the demand and prices of coking coal may return to normal, the article noted.

4. Copper – 139 mentions

The huge potential for exploration and development of copper in South Australia and Chile imposing strict rules for water use in mines were popularly discussed in August. According to an article shared by Australian Mining, an online magazine, copper mining is set to have a strong future in South Australia thanks to support from the government.

The state government plans to increase yearly copper production to one million tonnes by 2030 and is providing accelerated discovery initiative (ADI) grants of up to $3m in funding for exploring and developing mines. Development of copper mines will provide an advantage to South Australia as copper is expected to play a key role in the global shift towards renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Kevin A, a commodity market expert, shared an article on Chile’s environment regulator SMA charging BHP’s Escondida mine for exceeding water usage permit. The Escondida mine is the world’s largest copper mine in terms of production. SMA alleges that the mine’s operators were drawing excessive water for 15 years since 2005, surpassing the threshold by three times. The mine authorities refuted the allegations stating that they have ceased sourcing water from aquifers last year, adding that the mine now runs only on desalinated water.

5. Covid-19 – 48 mentions

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the production of gold, Bostwana’s diamond exports and the US coal market were some popularly discussed topics in August 2020. According to an article shared by World Gold Council, owing to the ongoing pandemic and stringent lockdowns, the supply of the gold across the world declined by 6% during the first half of the year and the year-on-year supply fell by 15% in the second quarter.

Further, VaMberikwazvo, a natural resource adviser, shared an article about Bostawana’s rough diamond exports plummeting to 68% due to the restrictions imposed to curb the pandemic. The fall in diamond exports will have a bearing on the country’s balance of payments deficit, as diamonds account for 70% of its exports.

In other news, Taylor Kuykendall, a mining and energy reporter at S&P Global Market Intelligence, shared his article on Covid-19’s impact on coal production and employment in the US in Q2. Coal mine employment declined by 23.1% compared to same period last year and production plunged by 24.7%. The fall in demand and production of coal was attributed to the fall in electricity demand due to the pandemic combined with weak natural gas prices and rise in renewable generation, according to Glenn Kellow, CEO of Peabody Energy.