Covid-19 Coronavirus
  • Global confirmed cases
    65,850,285
  • Global deaths
    1,518,977
  • Global death rate
    2.31%
  • Global recoveries
    42,306,853
  • Global recovery rate
    64.25%
  • Global confirmed cases
    65,850,285
  • Global deaths
    1,518,977
  • Global death rate
    2.31%
  • Global recoveries
    42,306,853
  • Global recovery rate
    64.25%
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Coronavirus: A timeline of how the deadly COVID-19 outbreak is evolving

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Exxaro production on par with 2019 levels – Australia’s resource exports surge – Two US coal firms declare bankruptcy

4 December

Three employees working at the Barrick Hemlo Williams gold mine in Ontario, Canada have tested positive for Covid-19. The local health unit is working in tandem with mine operators to confirm if other workers who may have come into contact with infected workers also contracted the coronavirus.

Two American coal companies, Lighthouse Resources and White Station Energy, filed for bankruptcy as they incurred huge losses owing to the slump in coal prices and demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The coal industry bore the brunt of reduced power demand as activity at offices, factories and stores came to a standstill during the pandemic. The rise in use of natural gas and renewables for generating electricity during the pandemic also affected coal demand.

The easing of coronavirus related lockdown restrictions across the globe in the second half of the year helped miner Exxaro Resources increase coal output to 2019 levels. The company estimates that its coal production would reach 47.6Mt in 2020, against 45.5Mt produced last year, while its sales volume is expected to hit 46.4Mt by end of year, compared with 44.5Mt in 2019.

The resource and energy exports of Australia rose by 4.1% and 43.9% respectively in October, compared with the same period in 2019. The country’s revenue from these exports hit a record $8.17bn, as the country is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic induced economic slump. LNG exports surged by 21.9% in October from the previous month, and coal exports grew by 3%.

10:04 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Codelco to spend $210m to keep mines operating – Codelco to spend $210m to keep mines operating – Philippines mining industry maintains stability through pandemic

3 December

Hummingbird Resources expects the production from its Yanfolila gold mine in Mali this year to be lower than the guidance estimates. The mine poured around 93,000oz of gold in the January-November period as it withstood extreme weather conditions in a particularly difficult rainy season. Hummingbird is expected to fall short of its 2020 guidance of 110,000oz to 125000oz owing to various factors including a military coup in the country and logistical issues induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chile’s state-owned miner Codelco is planning to spend $210m by year-end on implementing health protocols across all its mines to curb the spread of coronavirus. The company is taking this measure to ensure continuity of mining operations in the event of another wave of Covid-19. Copper production in Chile remained unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the country maintained steady production even at the height of the crisis.

The government of Queensland has noted that coal exports from the state will drop by 8% in FY2020-21, compared with the same period last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and ambiguity over accessing the Chinese market. The exports are expected to drop from 206Mt in 2019-20 to 188Mt in the current year, before bouncing back to 211Mt in 2021-22.

The ongoing pandemic did not impact the mining sector in the Philippines, as the industry managed to maintain higher exports and fewer job cuts. The sector is also capable of propping up the country’s economy, which contracted by 11.5% in September. Despite a few large mines facing temporary suspensions, the industry workforce remained largely unaffected.

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Nornickel reports sales decline – Fall in Colombian coal output – Indonesian coal exports at 32.1Mt

2 December

Russia’s Norilsk Nickel reported that sales of nickel and palladium dropped by 5% to 7% in 2020 compared with the previous year, due to a demand slump induced by the coronavirus pandemic. The company sold 230,000t of nickel and three million troy ounces of palladium last year. Demand is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels for two years.

Diamcor Mining sold 2,426ct of rough diamonds, while its revenue reached $339,280 over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company focussed on decreasing costs, restarting operations and consolidating its core team during the March-September period, when the pandemic was at its peak.

Coal production in Colombia slumped by 47.2% in September quarter, due to the ongoing lockdown in the country. The union strike at Cerrejon mine, the largest coal mine in the country, extending to its third month also affected production. Coal output in Q3 dropped to 11Mt from 20.8Mt in the same period in 2019. However, production picked up from the second quarter figures of 9.7Mt.

Indonesian coal exports in October hit 32.1Mt, dropping by 8.9Mt compared to the same period in 2019, even as its total seaborne exports in the first ten months stood at 329Mt. The South Asian nation is expected to fall short of its 2020 exports target of 400Mt due to a coal surplus owing to drop in seaborne exports and reduction in domestic consumption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

10:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Argentinian mine suspends operations – Australian gold exploration surges in third quarter – Covid-19 case reported at Cigar Lake mine

1 December

Hochschild Mining halted operations at the San Jose copper-gold mine in Argentina due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the Santa Cruz province, where the mine is located. The miner is sanitising the entire site including facilities and equipment and activity at the site is expected to resume this Friday.

Investment in gold exploration in Australia rose substantially in September quarter, registering a 17% growth to $356m from the previous quarter. The exploration of all minerals combined increased by 6% to $702m from the second quarter. Greenfield exploration recorded a 23% increase, while brownfield exploration rose by 17%, despite the ongoing pandemic.

Exports from Iran’s mining sector made up for more than 16% of the Middle-east nation’s non-oil exports in the March-October period despite some mining projects being deferred due to Covid-19 pandemic. The value of mining exports during the period reached $3.049bn, while the total income from mining and trade exports is projected to reach $10.5bn for the current year.

Uranium miner Cameco reported that one employee working at its Cigar Lake mine in Saskatchewan province in Canada tested positive for coronavirus. The individual has been in self-quarantine for the past ten days. The mine resumed operations in September after temporarily closing down in March due to onset of Covid-19 pandemic.

9:26 am

Aluminium producers optimistic of recovery – Japan’s iro ore imports drop year-on-year – China economic downturn could affect metals market

30 November

Aluminium producers in Europe are expecting a robust first quarter in 2021, as they are predicting output to reach close to pre-Covid-19 levels. Argus Media reported that consumers of the metal are expecting operational levels in Q1 next year to reach 80 to 90% of the levels achieved in the first quarter of 2019. The prices of aluminium are also unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with news of a vaccine infusing confidence among producers.

Iron ore imports to Japan in October fell 12% to 8.8Mt compared with the same period in 2019, as the coronavirus pandemic slumped supplies from countries like the US, Brazil and Canada. Nevertheless, imports in October rose 9.8% from the previous month, as local crude steel output for the month stood at 7.2Mt, posting a 11% increase from September.

The potential slowing of China’s economic growth is expected to take a toll on the metals market in the next ten years, even as minerals commodities are projected to perform strongly over the next 24 months. The Asian giant’s economy is expected to slump as the urbanisation and demographic growth is expected to shift to developing countries. China is the only country which did not witness a decline in industrial output despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Asia-Pacific steel demand falls by 9% – Minera Alamos to beging producing gold – Spence copper mine to start production in 2021

27 November

Steel demand in the Asia-Pacific region slumped by roughly 9% in 2020 owing to the effects of the pandemic, widening the supply surplus to more than two decades of growth. Steel consumption in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore in 2020 is expected to reach between 73.3Mt and 75.3Mt, dropping by between 6.2% to 8.7% from last year.

Mining exploration company Minera Alamos will start producing gold from early next year, as construction at its Santana mine in Sonaro, Mexico is expected to be completed soon. The company is planning to transport the screening, crushing and agglomeration system to its staging yard in Sonaro. The shipping of the system to Mexico was delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic related travel restrictions.

BHP is planning to expedite the expansion of its $2.5bn Spence copper mine in Chile, which was delayed due to lockdown restrictions earlier in the year. The mine is expected to commence operations in the first half of 2021 and will harness renewable energy for its operations. The site is expected to be entirely dependent on renewables by 2022.

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Consumer gold demand slumps – Troy withdraws 2020 output guidance – Covid-19 has hastened digitisation in mining

26 November

The increase in investment demand for gold is expected to offset the slump in consumer demand this year triggered by the ongoing pandemic, according to the World Gold Council. Consumer demand, which accounts for 40% of total gold demand, declined in the January-September period, while jewellery demand plunged 41% to 904t in the same period. Another factor affecting the declining consumer demand is the high prices of the metal, buoyed by it’s status as a safe haven asset.

Gold miner Troy Resources cancelled its production guidance for the current year due to pandemic related issues at its Karouni mine in Guyana. A coronavirus outbreak was reported at the mine, with 23 workers at the site testing positive leading to the suspension of operations. The company said that the country’s current situation with the pandemic makes it difficult for the mine to operate at 100% capacity.

The move towards automation and digitalisation in the mining sector was advanced by the coronavirus pandemic, according to leading miners and industry partners at the International Mining and Resource Conference. Lockdown restrictions forced miners to reduce workforces to curb the spread of virus and pursue digital strategies. The new trend could help in reducing costs, completing mining operations with fewer workers and also reduce pollution at the mines.

10:04 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australia’s mid-tier miners excel despite pandemic – Bushveld Minerals’ vanadium output crosses 1Bt – Anglo Asian lowers 2020 output guidance

25 November

Australia’s 50 mid-tier mining firms outdid market expectations despite the coronavirus pandemic disrupting operations, according to a PwC report. The MT50, comprising ASX-listed mid-tier miners, continued to make profits and recorded a 6% rise in revenue to $29.4m and increased market cap to $44.7bn. The MT50’s net assets also hit a record $31.6bn, registering a 16% surge in cash, even as they spent $4.3bn on CAPEX in 2020.

Global thermal coal demand is expected to reach 960Mt next year compared with 925Mt in 2020, even as the projected demand for 2020 declined from 1.04Bt last year as the Covid-19 pandemic diminished consumption throughout the world. The demand is expected increase marginally by 3.8% next year, thanks to a rise in consumption levels in India and southeast Asia on the back of post-pandemic economic recoveries.

South Africa-based Bushveld Minerals registered a 31% increase in group production of vanadium in third quarter to 1.02Bt, compared with 778Mt in Q2, thanks to the lifting of Covid-19 induced lockdown restrictions across the country. The company is planning to advance its expansion plans as the economy recovers from the pandemic and operations resume.

Azerbaijan-based Anglo Asian reduced its production guidance for 2020 owing to the conscription of engineers and sluggish tunnelling progress triggered by rock faulting affecting output. The company’s production estimates from its Gedabek mine in west Azerbaijan are in the range of 68,000 and 72,000 gold-equivalent ounces . Anglo Asian’s turnover is expected to reach $100m, notwithstanding its reduced output, while its conscripted engineers are expected to return to work early next year.

9:54 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Number of Australian energy projects in development on the rise – Impact Silver reports Q3 revenue – Chile copper output to hit 5.82mt in 2020

24 November

The number of resources and energy development projects in Australia rose 19% in the previous 12 months, despite the impact of the ongoing pandemic. There are currently 335 projects in the development phase, with the value of these projects rising 4% y-o-y to $244bn, while the value of committed projects was $28.5bn, posting a 30% rise from the previous year according to data from Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist.

Impact Silver announced that its Q3 revenue reached $4.8m, compared with $3.5m for the same period in 2019, thanks to increases in metal prices and operational efficacy. The company’s EBITDA stood at $1.4m, a 28% increase from Q3 2019, even as silver production dropped marginally by 4% to 462,231oz year to date, owing to the suspension of operations in Mexico due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Copper production in Chile is projected to rise 0.6% to 5.82Mt this year and reach 5.99Mt in 2021. Cochilco, the country’s copper commission, said the average copper price will stand at $2.75/lb in 2020, before increasing to $2.9/lb next year. The price estimate increased from August thanks to a rise in demand from China, economic recovery following the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a slump in copper inventories and the possibility of Covid-19 vaccine in the near future.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Ghana estimates increased gold output – Namibian diamond venture granted tax holiday – Zinc prices hits 18-month high

The Ghanaian government expects  gold production in 2020 to exceed last year’s output of four million oz. The prediction is based on the resumption of operations at the Obuasi mine, which is one of the largest gold mines in the world, and the fact that Ghana did not mandate the suspension of mining activities during the height of the pandemic.

The Namibian mining ministry gave a tax moratorium on royalty to Namdeb, a diamond joint venture between De Beers Group and the Namibian government, to save the country’s deteriorating mining industry. The company is currently paying 55% corporate tax and 10% royalty on its profit to the government. The diamond mining industry has been operational in the country for more than a century, but land-based mining could be closed permanently by 2023 due to financial feasibility issues.

The price of zinc on the London Metal Exchange (LME) reached $2,793 per tonne, overtaking copper and reaching its highest value in around 18 months. The price rise is attributed to the Gambsberg mine in South Africa suspending operations, as mine shutdowns are disrupting the material’s supply chain.

 

9:30 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Philippines mining sector could boost recovery – Coal India reports decline in profit – Tata Steel Mining to bid for Indian chrome ores

12 November

Tata Steel’s subsidiary Tata Steel Mining (TSM) plans to bid for the Saurabil, Sukinda and Kamarda chrome mines in Odisha, India could trigger a rise in domestic market prices. The company will be bidding at a price 90% above the one set by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM). TSM will pay 90% of monthly value of IBM’s fixed price for one tonne of chrome ore as tax to the state government. The Covid-19 pandemic forced TSM to limit its mined chrome ore shipments due to lockdown restrictions and labour shortages.

The Philippines has underscored the importance of its mining sector in rebounding from the Covid-19 crisis. The sector is helping in the development of rural areas by providing employment and placing itself in a position to support the economy. Mining companies have also supported the government in the Covid-19 crisis by supplying sanitisers, food and medicines.

Coal India reported a 16% decline in its net profit on a year-on-year basis to $397m in the third quarter, down from the $474m net profit it recorded in Q3 2019. The company’s net sales during the quarter surged by 14%, compared with the second quarter where it registered net sales of $2.28bn, thanks to demand recovery in the power sector after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased.

 

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – AngloGold reports Argentina outbreak – Denison to restart environmental assessment at Wheeler River – Restrictions hamper Gemfields’ auction plans

11 November

AngloGold Ashanti has halted operations at the Cerro Vanguardia gold-silver mine in Argentina for 10 days, following a Covid-19 outbreak. The mine currently employs around 1,700 people. The operations at the site are expected to resume on 20 November, with only essential staff working until the end of the month. The exact number of Covid-19 cases at the mine was not disclosed.

Canadian miner Denison Mines is set to resume the environmental assessment process for the Wheeler River uranium project is Saskatchewan, Canada. The Covid-19 pandemic restrictions forced Denison to stop the process in March, prior to which the company was planning to submit the Environmental Impact statement (EIS) draft in early 2022.

The mining sector in Botswana, the world’s second-largest diamond producer, is predicted to contract by roughly 25% in 2020 due to Covid-19 and the ensuing downturn. The country saw its diamond exports fall by 42% to $1.48bn from January to September. The country’s industry is expected to grow by 14.4% next year, as the diamond market is expected to recover and a new copper mine begins operations.

Gemfields, a precious gems miner, has delayed its plan to organise the next auction or generate sales revenue owing to the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus. The company hosted only one auction in 2020 in Lusaka, whose sales added $11.5m to the company’s revenue. As an alternative, Gemfields is executing its plan to conduct five small online sales for emeralds in November and December.

Precious metal streaming firm Wheaton Precious Metals reported that its operating cash flow reached $228m in the third quarter, a 60% rise from the same period in 2019. Wheaton’s attributable gold equivalent output in third quarter was 171,900oz, as the production bounced back after temporary stoppages in the second quarter due to pandemic related restrictions.

 

9:36 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Harmony’s gold output grows 38% in Q3 – India’s gold jewellery demand slumps 48% – Copper prices increase following vaccine hopes

South African gold miner Harmony Gold reported a 38% rise in its gold production for the third quarter compared with the previous quarter, which helped the company consolidate its balance sheet with a 20% cash flow margin. The output in the third quarter was 313,725oz compared to 226,632oz in the June quarter. Underground gold production saw a 64% jump to 242,029oz, thanks to easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

A worker at the Hoyle Pond Mine in the Timmins area in Ontario, Canada has tested positive for coronavirus, according to Newmont Porcupine general manager Patrick Chabot. The person who tested positive has been sent to self-quarantine to safeguard the health and safety of the other employees at the mine. The mine authorities are cleaning and sanitising the areas at the mine to avoid potential spread and further infections.

The demand for gold jewellery in India witnessed a 48% drop year on year at roughly 52.8t in the third quarter, owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The continuing high prices of gold is expected to deter customers from buying the yellow metal. The fall in gold demand is also attributed to the bleak employment prospects across the country due to Covid-19 induced economic slump.

Copper prices went up after positive developments on the vaccine for coronavirus were reported. Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange increased to $6,950 per tonne on Tuesday, a 0.5% growth, while the Shanghai Futures Exchange rose marginally by 0.2% to $7,868 per tonne.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Chile copper production costs decline by 17% – Covid-19 adversely affects Argentinian mining exports – Iamgold reduces production targets

6 November

The Chilean copper industry witnessed a 17% decline in output costs during the first half of the year owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the country. Cash costs dropped to $1.21 per pound of copper produced in H1 from $1.45 per pound in H1 2019. The decline in costs is attributed to drop in prices of ingredients such as sulfuric acid and diesel used in copper processing apart from weakening of peso against dollar.

Argentinian mining exports saw a 25% slump as mining activity was severely impacted by the lockdown restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic. Mineral exploration funding dropped to $160m from $241m in 2019.

Canadian gold miner Iamgold reduced its 2020 production guidance on the Westwood underground mine as an earthquake forced suspension of operations. The output estimate for 2020 has now been revised to between 630,000oz and 680,000oz from between 70,000oz and 760,000oz. Iamgold has gradually diminished the production guidance since March, owing to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Luxembourg-based steel major ArcelorMittal recorded a $261m net loss for the third quarter, compared with $539m loss it posted in Q3 2019. The company improved its performance from the June quarter, when it posted a net loss of $599m, thanks to a steady recovery of steel market owing to easing of Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions. ArcelorMittal’s steel shipments for Q3 stood at 17.5Mt, an increase from 14.8Mt reported in Q2.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Covid-19 outbreak reported at Canadian gold mine – Albemarle projects net sales to cross $3bn – Copper volumes recover

5 November

China-based cobalt producer Nanijin Hanuri Cobalt is planning to launch a cobalt production line in the Democratic Republic of Congo later this month. The line was scheduled to go online earlier this year, but postponed due to the ongoing pandemic. It will produce 5,000t per year once it starts operations.

Three workers at Canadian miner Alamos Gold’s Young-Davidson gold mine in Northeastern Ontario have tested positive for coronavirus. Contact tracing and safety precautions are being undertaken by the Timiskaming Health Unit. The region recorded its first Covid-19 outbreak in September when workers at Glencore Kidd Mine tested positive.

American lithium miner Albemarle projected its profits for 2020 to go beyond estimates but forecast that its annual performance will be lower due to the global economic slump triggered by the ongoing pandemic. The net sales for the current year is expected to be in the range of $3.05bn and $3.15bn.

Copper volumes on world exchanges are rising as speculators’ return to the market on the back of Chinese economic recovery. The copper market is the bellwether of the global economy thanks to its extensive usage in a wide spectrum of industries. The price of LME benchmark copper futures surged by 61% to $7,034 per tonne after witnessing lows in March owing to the ongoing pandemic.

9:37 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Escondida copper production declines – Ouray Silver Mines has four workers test positive – Torex Gold reports Q3 profit rise

4 November

The Escondida copper mine operated by BHP registered a 6% decline in output to 94,100t in September compared to the same period in 2019. The mine’s production between January and September, however, increased by 2.4%. Chilean company Codelco, the largest copper miner, recorded a 9.6% increase in production to 159,200t from last year, despite restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Ouray Silver Mines, a US-based mining services company, has suspended its operations as four of its employees tested positive for Covid-19. All the employees who tested positive worked out of the same office. The mine operator initiated the testing process for all the workers to ensure a safe environment for its workforce.

Mexican miner Torex Gold Resources posted profits in Q3 as gold prices continue to rise. The company reported record net earnings for the September quarter at $60.3m from revenues of $256.5m, compared with $17.1m net income on revenues of $198.2m for the same period in 2019. Torex produced 131,790oz gold at $877 per oz at the El Limon Guajes mine, selling more than 133,000oz of the metal for $1,884 per oz.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mining at Peru’s lithium project to commence in 2023 – Boart Longyear’s Q3 revenue slumps 10% – China’s iron ore imports cross 100Mt in October

3 November

The CEO of the Bank of Montreal stated that despite several miners considering takeovers in the current scenario, the probability of these deals materialising is unlikely until the global economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. Mining companies worldwide have announced acquisitions worth $52bn in 2020, which is less than 50% of value of agreements witnessed during the mid-2000s and after the 2008 global recession.

Canadian miner Plateau Energy Metals has raised $600m for development of the Falchani lithium project in Peru, which was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lithium project is now expected to commence in 2023. Plateau Energy raised $597m through European mutual funds for the project, the remaining $844m will be provided by the company itself.

Drilling contractor Boart Longyear reported a 10% y-o-y decline in revenues to $172m during the third quarter, as drilling services were impacted due to the pandemic. The Q3 revenues were still higher than the previous quarter, when the company registered a 30% fall from corresponding period last year.

China is continuing to import iron ore through sea, having imported roughly 101.6Mt in October. China’s steel production is expected to hit the 1Bt mark this year, thanks to huge demand from infrastructure and construction industries. The iron ore supply has also reached normal levels after production was disrupted in Brazil due to the coronavirus pandemic.

9:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Glencore’s Q3 output exceeds expectations – McEwen increases production in third quarter – Aluminium demand to increase worldwide

2 November

The latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlighted the significance of the mining sector in boosting the country’s economy. The mining industry’s GDP surged by 4.9% in 2019-20, totalling $202bn, while the economy was contracting due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mining emerged as the biggest industry in the country accounting for 10.4% of the economy.

Anglo-Swiss miner Glencore registered robust production during Q3. Copper production increased by 17.6% compared to Q2 as Covid-19 related lockdown restrictions were lifted. The company, however, has cut its coal output guidance by 5.7% in 2020. Glencore’s coal production declined by 20% year-to-date at 83.5mt due to the union strike at its Cerrejon mine in Colombia for the past two months.

Canadian gold and silver miner McEwen Mining reported an increase in output during Q3. McEwen’s mines were shut down in Q2 due to the pandemic but were able to resume going into Q3. Aluminium production is projected to increase by 2% in 2021 as prices rebound after the coronavirus pandemic, which led producers to reduce output. Total production from its four mines during Q3 was 23,100oz of gold and 575,000oz of silver.

Aluminium will be in oversupply thanks to production overtaking consumption in 2020, according to a report by Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research. The oversupply of the mineral, however, will start contracting from 2021 and the trend will continue for the next four years before expanding in 2025.

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Agnico Eagle Mines’ profits exceed expectations – Global gold output to drop by 5% in 2020 – Gem Diamonds reports profits as diamond prices increase

29 October

Canadian gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines registered a Q3 profit as revenue surged to $980.6m from $683m in Q2, helped by a rise in gold prices and sales volume. The increase in gold prices is attributed to huge stimulus packages to bail out economies hit by the Covid-19 crisis. Agnico also announced an increase in total capital expenditure estimates for 2020 to between $720m and $740m from the previous estimate of $690m.

The demand for seaborne thermal coal in the Asia Pacific region will rise above 270Mt to reach 1.1Bt a year by the end of next decade, according to a report by Minerals Council of Australia. Thermal coal witnessed a decline in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, but is expected to rebound especially in countries such as India and the Philippines, which are projected to expand import capacity by more than 30Mt.

UK precious metal dealer Direct Bullion has forecast gold production in 2020 to decline by roughly 3,368t, or 5%, as gold miners worldwide continue to bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. The Covid-19 related lockdowns and restrictions throughout the world led to disruption of gold supply and reduction of workforce. The demand for gold jewellery is also projected to plummet by 33% to 1,425t, although investment in gold witnessed a 190% rise in H1 compared to same period in 2019.

UK-based diamond miner Gem Diamonds reported increased cash flow and reduced debts during the September quarter, thanks to a surge in diamond prices and steady recovery after the pandemic affected the market. The company’s debt during the period decreased by $6.6m and the company generated an income of $25m as diamond sales hit the $1m mark.

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Teck Resources’ Q3 profit slumps by more than 60% – Caterpillar’s revenue falls in third quarter – Medusa Mining reports Covid-19 infection

28 October

Canadian miner Teck Resources has reported a more than 60% drop in gross profit in the third quarter due to a steep fall in steelmaking, coal prices, and Covid-19 related restrictions. The company’s gross profit prior to amortisation and depreciation was $703m during the September quarter compared to $1.22bn in the same period last year. Mining activities have resumed at all mines operated by the company after coronavirus related disruptions, although operations continue to be affected due to more stringent safety procedures.

South African diamond producer Petra Diamonds’ debt restructuring plan aimed at managing its debt is expected to continue despite a 20% increase in rough diamond prices and the resumption of operations at three of its mines after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted. The debt restructuring plan is needed to make payments for a $650m bond due in 2022. Petra has signed an agreement with bond holders to take a 91% share in the company’s equity in exchange for $400m in bonds. The deal will dilute shareholders stake in the company to 9%.

Caterpillar, a US-based mining equipment manufacturer, has reported a 23% decline in sales and revenues in the third quarter. Lower sales of its equipment and services owing to slow economic recovery after the Covid-19 related lockdowns were the primary reasons behind the decline in revenues. The reduction in sales of mining trucks and bulldozers was offset by the economic recovery in China and a boost of residential activity in the US.

Australian gold producer Medusa Mining has shut down operations at its Co-O mine located in the Philippines, after employees tested positive for coronavirus. The mine has been placed under care and maintenance for a period of seven days to disinfect the workspaces. All employees working at the mine will be tested for the virus before returning to the site.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – MMG reduces 2020 guidance for Las Bambas – Orocobre suspends Olaroz operations – Decline in India steel production

27 October

Operations at the Olaroz lithium mine operated by lithium mining company Orocobre were shut down temporarily after employees working at the site tested positive for Covid-19. Orocobre reported that 35 workers at the facility tested positive and the virus was spread from a single employee who initially tested negative. The operations at the Olaroz mine are expected to restart this week.

The deliveries from Las Bambas copper mine operated by MMG have returned to normal after the site was previously disrupted due to a road blockade by local communities. The mine faced similar disruption before the coronavirus related lockdown restrictions halted production. MMG has cut output guidance for the mine for 2020 by more than 10% from 350,000t-370,000t to 305,000t-315,000t.

The World Steel Association said that crude steel output in India fell by 2.9% to 8.52Mt in September, compared to the same period in 2019. China recorded a 10.09% y-o-y increase in production last month at 92.5Mt. The previous month’s steel production in the US and Japan also diminished by 18.5% and 19.3% respectively. The organisation said that the September figures are rough estimates and the exact production numbers could be revised in next month’s update.

The price of zinc reached $2,596.50 per tonne at the London Metal Exchange (LME) last week, demonstrating strong performance since May 2019. The price of lead, on the other hand, plunged during the same period. The Covid-19 lockdown has impacted the demand and supply of both the metals. Demand for zinc dropped by 5.3% in 2020, while lead demand contracted by 6.5%, according to International Lead and Zinc Study Group.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Merafe Resources’ ferrochrome output plunges 37% – Global steel production increases 2.9% in September – Philex Mining halts operations after outbreak

26 October

Merafe Resources registered a 37% decline in attributable ferrochrome production to 168,000t in the January-September period, down from 266,000t compared to the same period in 2019. The production decline was attributed to the coronavirus outbreak, market environment and electricity restrictions.

The worldwide steel output in September registered a 2.9% growth to 256.4Mt, continuing the positive trend for the second month in a row. Steel production was adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic, which triggered a slump in industrial activity during the March-July period. China’s steel output, which recorded a 10.9% rise, was a major factor influencing global recovery.

Mining operations at the Padcal copper-gold mine in Benguet, operated by Philippine mining company Philex Mining, were halted temporarily as several employees working at the site tested positive for Covid-19. The company is currently conducting tests on 1,000 employees to contain the spread of coronavirus and is also performing workplace disinfection at the mine.

The K2 Potash mine in Saskatchewan, Canada has reported that two workers have tested positive for Covid-19. Local health authorities have cautioned about a potential outbreak at Sturgeon Lake First Nation health centre. The Covid-19 positive employees are now in self-isolation and people who have Covid-19 symptoms have been asked to quarantine and get tested to prevent further spread of the virus.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Freeport McMoRan profits exceed expectations in Q3 – Amplats production decreases marginally -De Beers optimistic about rough diamond demand

23 October

US-based miner Freeport McMoRan reported a 22% increase in revenues to $3.85bn in Q3, owing to rising gold prices due to the coronavirus pandemic and cost cuts. The company reported a 7% decline in costs and expenses to $2.97bn during the quarter.

Anglo American Platinum, a platinum group metals (PGM) mining company, reported a 2% decline in PGM production in Q3 due to impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on its Kroondal and Modikwa mines. The decline in production was offset by rise in production at the Mogalakwena, Unki and Motolo mines by 12%, 9% and 6% respectively.

The Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF), released a report on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the mining sector. The report highlights that the pandemic will have a long-term impact on the mining industry as mining companies reduce capex and investments. The pandemic is also expected to increase local opportunities, while accelerating automation, the report stated.

Diamond mining company De Beers reported a decline in diamond output to 7.2 million carats in September quarter, a 4% drop compared to the same period in 2019. The decline was attributed to production cutbacks due to lower rough diamond demand amidst the pandemic. Rough diamond demand, however, increased by the end of Q3, as Covid-19 restrictions were lifted across the globe.

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Fresnillo reduces gold and silver production forecast – Lynas increases output in Q3 – NIOT defers mining trials in ocean due to Covid-19

22 October

Mexican gold producer Fresnillo reduced its gold output estimate for 2020 from between 785,000oz and 815,000oz to between 745,000oz and 775,000oz, considering Covid-19 induced curbs at its mines. The miner said that it decreased the number of mine workers at its Herradura gold mine to contain the spread of coronavirus and safeguard its staff. The silver production forecasts remained intact at between 51 million oz and 56 million oz.

Australian rare earths miner Lynas reported increased production of neodymium praseodymium (NdPr) in the September quarter, while rare earth oxide (REO) output recorded an almost twofold increase. The NDPr output for July-September quarter rose to 1,342t from 775t in the June quarter and REO production increased from 2,579t to 4,110t during the same period.

India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has postponed plans to deploy a 20t crawler in light of the pandemic. The crawler would carry equipment for mining minerals in the sea. The crawler was to be sent for mining trials at 6,000m depth into the Central Indian Ocean Basin. The institute has already tested the crawler and pumping system independently at 3,400m in the ocean.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Vale reports iron ore production increase – Perseus Mining’s output rises 6% – Gold exports to Asia from Switzerland decline

21 October

Brazilian miner Vale reported a 31% increase in iron ore production in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter. The company generated 88.7mt of iron ore during the quarter and forecasts further increase in production, owing to output growth at various mines in Brazil. Operations at the company’s mines in Brazil including Itabira, Timbopeba and Fazendao were previously disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

West African gold miner Perseus Mining saw its production rise by 6% in the quarter ended September thanks to robust output from its Edikan and Sinssingue mines, despite challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The company recorded a combined output of 68,772oz at both the mines for the quarter. The gold output for the second half is forecast to range between 125,500oz and 139,000oz.

Switzerland’s gold exports to India and China declined in September, highlighting the impact of the pandemic on Asia. Investors in the west have replaced jewellery buyers from Asia as jewellery businesses remained closed and disposable income of consumers dwindled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Switzerland’s gold imports from Hong Kong rose exponentially, while exports increased to the UK during the same period.

Botswana’s finance minister has forecast the country’s economy to grow by 7.7% in 2021, predominantly due to rejuvenation of the global diamond market. The country’s economy witnessed a 24% contraction in Q2 as Covid-19 lockdowns impacted local economic activity and diamond sales. Mining is a major driver of Botswana’s economy, making up approximately 20% of its GDP.

9:34 am

Coronavirus company news summary – South32 reports increase in coal and manganese production – India’s steel industry recovering – BHP reports increase in iron ore production

20 October

Australian mining company South32 has announced an increase in its coal and manganese production for the quarter that ended in September, despite restrictions imposed due to Covid-19 pandemic. Manganese production increased by 19% compared to the previous quarter, while coal production increased by 22%.

The steel market in India is slowly recovery after being disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Chairman of steel producer Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, P K Rath. Demand for steel increased as construction related projects resumed after lockdown restrictions were lifted. Steel demand is expected to further increase as demand rises in the white goods and auto industry during the festival season, Rath added.

Aluminium output in China increased to 3.16 million tonnes in September, an increase of 7% compared to the same period in 2019. The daily output of aluminium reached a new high at 105,333 tonnes. The increase in production was attributed to the recovery of prices and commissioning of new smelters, following the Covid-19 pandemic.

BHP reported a 7.2% increase in Australian iron ore production for the September quarter aided by strong demand from China. The country has adopted a range of the commodity-intensive stimulus measures to stimulate economic growth after the pandemic. BHP also reported impact on iron ore production for the December quarter due to ongoing works at the Mining Area C and South Flank projects.

9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – global copper output affected by Covid-19 – Telson Mining’s Campo Morado mine returns to full production – India’s gold imports fall by more than half

19 October

The coronavirus pandemic continues to cast a shadow over the global copper industry, affecting worldwide supply by 4%, according to mining major, Rio Tinto. Copper prices increased to $6,700/t from $5,000/t mainly due to copper cathode imports by China. Rio Tinto’s copper production in the third quarter was 18% lower than the corresponding period in 2019.

Telson Mining Corporation reported that its Campo Morado multi-metal mine has returned to 100% production after it was shut down earlier due to Covid-19. The mine processed 52,352t output in September, increasing the overall output for the third quarter to 127,438t. Production at the mine was impacted in July and August due to the collapse of SAG mill liner.

Gold imports to India, the world’s biggest gold importer, plummeted by 57% to $6.8bn in the first half of 2020 compared with the same period last year due to lower demand for amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The reduction in imports enabled India to reduce its the trade deficit for the April-September period at $23.44bn from $88.82bn in 2019.

9:36 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Barrick Gold forecasts drop in Q3 gold production – Minerals Council VP says workers health is top priority – Codelco resumes normal mining operations

16 October

Canadian miner Barrick Gold has forecast its gold output to decline by 10.8% in Q3 as the company’s Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea was closed during the quarter. The mine’s lease was not extended by the Papua New Guinea government in April owing to protests from the local community and environmental concerns.

Zanele Matlala, vice president of Minerals Council South Africa, said the country’s mining industry is taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of its employees. Addressing a health webinar, Ms. Matlala said that the mining sector had registered 17,000 Covid-19 cases and 190 deaths so far. She added that the Masoyise Health Programme was established to address occupational health concerns in the industry.

Mountain Province Diamonds, a Canadian diamond company, announced a 16% decline in production in the third quarter compared to the same period in 2019. The decline in production was attributed to the ongoing pandemic, although Q3 production levels were still higher when compared to Q2 figures.

Chile’s government-owned copper mining company, Codelco, reported that it has resumed production, following disruption caused due to Covid-19. The miner was forced to cut its labour force and halt expansion plans due to the pandemic. The company’s CEO Octavio Araneda said that the company aims to meet its yearly production goals.

10:04 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Diamond exports from India expected to decline – IEA foresees bright prospects for Australian minerals – Gold production boom expected

15 October

India, the world’s largest diamond exporter, is expected to witness a decline in diamond exports in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and disruption in supply chains. Diamond imports declined by 37% between March and September, compared with the corresponding period in 2019.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) energy outlook for 2020 has indicated that top mineral companies in Australia will play a critical role in supplying energy resources over the next few decades. The report forecasts that approximately 50% of global energy investments will be made in the Asia Pacific region.

Australia’s minerals companies will have a key role in providing resources required to grow sustainably in coming decades, according to Minerals Council of Australia. Despite global uncertainty, the country’s prospects are expected to be positive because of ‘world-class’ minerals, reliability as a supplier, and investments by industry and government in the research, development and deployment of emission lowering technologies.

The gold production from mines across the world is expected increase by 8.8% to reach 3,664 tonnes in 2021 due to rising bullion prices. The demand for gold will slump by 25% in 2020 before bouncing to 17% in 2021, according to consultancy firm Metal Focus. The Covid-19 led to temporary cessation of gold mines and trimmed jewellery sales, but also fuelled a gold rush due to its status as a safe investment.

10:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – OceanaGold lays off Phillipines workers – K92 Mining registers robust gold production in third quarter – Ecuador’s Curipamba project restarts

14 October

Gold miner OceanaGold has laid off 496 permanent staff, who mainly hailed from the Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces of the Philippines. This is the first phase of layoffs at the company’s operations in the Phillipines. The company also terminated 400 contractual jobs. OceanaGold said it could also execute phase two of permanent layoffs next month. OceanaGold CEO Michael Holmes said that the layoffs are due to a road blockade by local government, pending the FTAA renewal, which in turn has stalled the company’s operations for the last 15 months.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, gold producer K92 Mining has reported an output 21,298 oz of gold, 488,020 lbs of copper and 7,127 oz silver for a total of 22,261 gold equivalent oz, which is a 16% increase from the corresponding period of Q3 2019 at its Kainantu gold mine in Papua New Guinea. The quarter also achieved record mill throughput of 64,702 tonnes following successful commissioning of the Stage 2 process plant expansion to double throughput from 200,000 tpa (~550tpd) to 400,000 tpa (~1,100 tpd).

Exploration companies Adventus Mining and Salazar Resources have provided an update on recommencing site operations at the Curipamba project in Ecuador following suspension. These include six drill rigs in support of the ongoing El Domo deposit feasibility study and regional drilling of exploration targets within the greater Curipamba minerals concessions.

9:44 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Queensland resources industry holding up despite disruption – Polymetal reports Covid-19 cases at Mayskoye deposit – Six new Covid-19 cases reported on Vega Dream charter

13 October

The resources sector in Queensland has continued to deliver its 80% share of the Australian state’s export earnings in the past 12 months, according to new trade data. The state has achieved a significant share despite the disruptions caused to commodity prices in the wake of Covid-19. Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said: “Queensland export earnings have been impacted by Covid-19, with total export earnings down by A$16bn compared to the previous 12 months, but we’ve still contributed 80 percent of total exports.”

Russian precious metals producer Polymetal said that nearly 100 people had tested positive for Covid-19 at its Mayskoye deposit. Currently, the situation at the mine site is under control and the outbreak is not expected to affect any production at Mayskoye, said Reuters citing the company’s chief executive Vitaly Nesis. Globally, Russia has the fourth highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook has confirmed that another six staff members on the Vega Dream cargo charter have tested positive for the coronavirus. The new cases come after BHP, which charters the cargo ship, reported the first positive case of Covid-19 aboard after the ship arrived in Port Hedland on 10 October. Cook said: “The potential new case in Port Hedland involving a crew member of the Vega Dream [does] not have a positive PCR result returned.”

9:50 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mining companies ban Manila ship crew after outbreak – IMF urged to sell gold amid pandemic – Gold miner stocks’ performance linked to prices

12 October

Mining companies in Australia have decided not to use Manila-based ship crew members after the Government of Western Australia (WA) confirmed an outbreak of Covid-19 on board the Vega Dream carrier. The iron ore bulk carrier, which is the second ship that reached northern WA with positive cases on board recently, is now anchored off the Port Hedland coast. It departed the port completely laden with iron ore, the Brisbane Times reported.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) has urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to sell some of its stockpile of gold to help poorer countries cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. The partial sale of gold will also help to cover the debt payments owed by these countries for the next 15 months. The IMF holds 90.5m ounces of gold, which is worth about $175bn at current prices. JDC director Sarah-Jayne Clifton was quoted by The Guardian as saying that there is inequality in the resources that are currently available to countries to help them weather the Covid-19 crisis.

X-trade Brokers research head Przemysław Kwiecien  told Personal Wealth that the gold miner stocks’ performance is linked to prices of physical gold. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the gold prices have been outperforming. According to Kwiecień, due to low interest rates globally, the metal has been one of the winners of the pandemic. Prices of gold are unlikely to decline in the near term, At present, their stocks are overvalued.

 

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lucapa to restart operations at Mothae mine – Endeavour reports positive results in Q3 – Hecla Mining reports increasing production at mines

9 October

Lucapa Diamond Company and the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho have announced the restart of scaled mining operations at the Mothae kimberlite diamond mine after it was put on care and maintenance during the coronavirus lockdown. Isolation measures forced the suspension of operations at the mine in late March this year to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Mining and treatment operations have now restarted at Mothae in compliance with advised health measures to ensure the safety of its employees and contractors. Lucapa will scale the operations to about 75% of capacity due to the pandemic related protocols in place.

Endeavour Silver has reported production of 942,274 silver ounces and 10,260 gold ounces in the third quarter of this year, for silver equivalent (AgEq) production of 1.8Moz, bringing the year to date production total to 4.4 million AgEq oz. Production at the company’s mines returned to plan during the quarter after a shut down the previous quarter for two months following a government mandated suspension of mining operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Endeavour CEO Bradford Cooke said: “After riding out a challenging Q2 with our mining operations suspended for more than half the quarter, due to the government Covid-19 mandate, our operations team were able to deliver a return to our production plan in Q3, 2020.”

Hecla Mining Company has reported increasing production at its Greens Creek and Lucky Friday mines at the end of the third quarter. Hecla Mining president and CEO Phillips Baker said: “Hecla’s strong operating performance was from increasing silver production at Greens Creek and Lucky Friday and managing Covid-19 at all the mines.” With this operating performance combined with higher silver prices, the company was able to close the quarter with $97m of cash and cash equivalents.

12:51 pm

Coronavirus company news summary – Calibre Mining reports strong third quarter gold output – South Africa trade unions protest over Covid-19 impact – Aurubis expects stable ore refining charges next year

8 October

Gold producer Calibre Mining has reported strong production results of 45,341oz for the third quarter this year. The company produced 23,262oz from its Libertad mine and 22,079oz from El Limon mine. Earlier this year, Calibre revised its 2020 guidance to between 110,000oz and 125,000oz of gold production, due to the impact of the covid-19 pandemic. In August, the company increased its gold production potential by buying the remaining 70% stake in the Eastern Borosi project from Canadian firm IAMGOLD.

COSATU, South Africa’s biggest trade union group, has urged members to stay away from work on 7 October to protest job losses, salary cuts, as well as corruption cases. The protests come as a result of ill treatment of workers during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, Reuters reported. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that his government is concluding an “economic recovery plan to encourage a rebound” in employment. He also promised strict action to deal with those involved in corruption cases.

A senior executive at European copper refiner Aurubis said that charges to refine copper concentrate into metal should remain stable next year. Aurubis expects stable copper refining charges as the copper industry has come well through the Covid-19 crisis, Reuters reported. The news agency quoted Aurubis senior vice-president Michael Hellemann as stating: “Mines are working at high capacity and ever more concentrate is coming onto the market. I think we are facing comfortable concentrate supplies in 2021.”

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australia budget for mining support – Copper price dips over economic concerns – South African miners “almost unscathed” by Covid-19

The Australian Government’s 2020-21 federal budget has allocated support to the mining industry as it prioritises training and education as well as research and development in manufacturing and supporting industries. This includes a new employment support scheme, “JobMaker”, which will ensure Australians have the right skills for the future jobs. Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable said: “Mining companies had already mapped new opportunities for education and training of existing and future workers, and the industry welcomes the support in the Budget for this response.”

Copper prices have edged-down due to worries over the economic impact of rising cases of Covid-19 infections. The price drop also comes as the rise in metal inventories counters concerns about possible strike action in Chile, Reuters reported. Saxo Bank Copenhagen commodity strategy head Ole Hansen said: “The wage negotiations and potential strike action is providing underlying support for copper. But copper has really not been able to build on Friday’s gains… so copper remains fragile.”

The mining industry in South Africa has been “almost unscathed” by the coronavirus pandemic, and largely fared better than any other sector, according to the 2020 PwC SA Mine report. Despite an extremely challenging year as a result of the global pandemic, South African miners remained resilient and performed on all fronts. PwC Africa Energy Utilities & Resources Leader Andries Rossouw stated: “South Africa’s mining sector continues to be a meaningful contributor to the economy and has weathered the Covid-19 pandemic in many respects – showing good profitability and retaining strong balance sheets.”

9:39 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Pan American Silver restarts Peru operations – BHP announces funding for Covid-19 economic recovery – MC Mining posts narrowed annual loss despite Covid-19 impact

1 October

Pan American Silver has restarted production at its Huaron and Morococha operations in Peru, where it has been gradually redeploying its workforce over the last two weeks. The company is implementing intensive health screenings and testing at these operations for Covid-19. Pan American has also implemented strict protocols to trace, mitigate and limit the spread of the virus. The expected production for the year, cash costs and all-in sustaining costs per ounce sold in 2020 for both the operations are in line with revised guidance the company provided on 5 August 2020.

BHP is set to provide funding for 3,500 new apprenticeship and training positions in Australia, and drive up to $450m into supporting business opportunities in the country’s mining, equipment, technology and services sector. BHP CEO Mike Henry said that the major skills and technology package would be good for the company and the country, as Australia focuses on its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The package totals nearly $800m and is to be deployed over the next five years.

Coal producing company MC Mining has reported a significantly narrowed annual loss for the financial year ended 30 June despite the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the related lockdown in South Africa. During this period, the company reported a pre-tax loss of $12.9m. For the previous year, the pre-tax loss was $33.5m. The annual net impairment expense of the company declined to $1.3m from $21.9m compared to the previous year.

Wesizwe Platinum has delayed Bakubung platinum mine development due to the impact of Covid-19 on the process plant construction schedule. The commissioning date is now scheduled for October next year. The company was only able to progress 1.1km of development for the six months to 30 June. The proposed target for the year was 3.6km. Additionally, production forecast for the mine was cut in half for this year because of the pandemic and a fatal accident. The mine construction started in 2011.

9:38 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Queensland approves Olive Downs mine – Critical Metals to list on LSE – AfriTin Mining posts half-year results

30 September

Australia’s Queensland state government has given the final approval to a large coking coal project in the Bowen Basin, south-east of Moranbah. The latest move comes as part of an attempt to create jobs in the resources industry following Covid-19 induced disruptions. The project, known as Olive Downs, is expected to create 1,000 mining jobs and yield coking coal used for steelmaking. The A$1bn ($710m) mine is proposed by Pembroke Resources. Queensland Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham said that the preparation work for construction at the Olive Downs mine could begin immediately.

Critical Metals is reportedly set to list on London Stock Exchange (LSE). The company is the latest to join a pipeline of mining initial public offerings (IPO) previously delayed by the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. According to the news agency, the IPO is a year late, having been delayed due to the political uncertainty in the UK and then by the pandemic. Once listed on the main market of the LSE, Critical Metals said it would seek to acquire some African mines producing copper, cobalt, niobium, vanadium, tin, tantalum, rare earths as well as beryllium. Critical Metals CEO Russell Fryer said: “Covid-19 worked in our favour, because Covid-19 showed how dependent the world is on Chinese supply lines. We need to rethink our economies.”

Despite global uncertainty as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, AfriTin Mining has steadily increased production from its Uis tin mine in Namibia which resulted in an increase in revenue for the six-month period that ended 31 August. The company reported a revenue of $1.38m for the six months under review, with the plant having achieved record production of 37.5 tonnes (t) of tin concentrate last month.

9:30 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Poland expects EC to approve mine closure plans – Colombia urged to suspend Cerrejon operations – Global Atomic submits application for Dasa Uranium Project

29 September

The European Commission (EC) is expected to give consent to a plan to gradually close mines owned by Poland-based coal producing company PGG and provide more public aid for the industry. The spread of Covid-19 among mining workers is said to have added to problems facing the country’s mining industry as demand for coal declines and costs increase. Poland’s government signed an agreement with PGG’s trade unions to gradually close its coal mines by 2049, putting an end to weeks of negotiations on the company’s restructuring. The agreement is pending approval from the EC. Deputy Assets Minister Artur Sobon told radio station TOK FM: “I would be surprised if the European Commission, considering the social approval for phasing out mining, said no.”

United Nations human rights expert David Boyd said that Colombia needs to suspend some of the operations of coal mining company Cerrejon, citing health as well as environmental concerns. Boyd’s statement comes following a request by a British barrister alleging that mining has damaged the health of local Wayuu indigenous people. Reuters quoted Boyd as saying in a statement: “I call on Colombia to implement the directives of its own Constitutional Court and to do more to protect the very vulnerable Wayuu…against pollution from the huge El Cerrejon mine and from Covid-19.” Boyd further added that people living with higher levels of air pollution face increased risk of death from the virus.

Global Atomic has submitted the mining permit application for its Dasa Uranium Project in Niger, as planned. President and CEO Stephen Roman said that despite the challenges thrown by the Covid-19 pandemic this year, the company was able to make considerable progress on the Dasa Project. Recently a development and operating plan, an environmental impact statement, as well as a hydrogeological study were completed, all of which are key components of its mining permit application.

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Australia resource exports predicted to remain strong – Minergy records “considerable” achievements in financial results – Resolute reaches agreement with Syama mine union

28 September

According to Australia’s Resources and Energy Quarterly September report, resource and energy exports in the country are estimated to reach $256bn in 2020-21, and will stand at $252bn in 2021-22. The drive in Australian exports is attributed to a sharp economic rebound of the country’s major customer, China, following the Covid-19 pandemic. The report showed that the decline in the output of the resources sector caused by the pandemic may have been sharp but has proven to be relatively ‘short-lived’.

Botswana-based coal miner and trader Minergy has recorded significant milestones during the financial year ended 30 June, despite part of the year being severely impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. Minergy CEO Morné du Plessis said: “Despite border restrictions between South Africa and Botswana (a minimum of 15 weeks), Minergy, in its first year of operations, sold ~198,000 tonnes for the financial year generating P81m in revenue.”

Gold miner Resolute has announced that it reached a deal with a union representing its workers at the Syama mine in Mali to prevent further strike action at the mine site. Resolute negotiated the deal with Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Mali (UNTM) to sign a ‘conciliation agreement’ that cancelled the strike. As a result of the agreement, a compromise between Resolute’s subsidiary company SOMISY and the UNTM has been achieved. The conciliation agreement involved the introduction of a commission to evaluate the support measures that SOMISY has argued are required in response to the Covid-19 and the current economic conditions of the workers at Syama.

10:17 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Altura ramps up lithium mine in Western Australia – Jupiter Mines releases Q2 financial results – Western Australia reports record resources sales

25 September

Lithium raw materials supplier Altura Mining has ramped up operations at the Altura lithium mine in Western Australia as site-based staff returned to pre-coronavirus rosters. The company reported that production at the lithium mine had been consistent and was expected to reach 43,000 to 45,000 wet metric tonnes (wmt) for the September quarter. Altura also noted that shipping tonnage for the September quarter (Q3-2020) have exceeded production, with 51,217wmt sold via four cargoes. Altura managing director James Brown said: “Altura’s production and sales have continued to be strong through what are still weak market conditions.”

Iron ore mining company Jupiter Mines has announced that overall mining volumes during the quarter that ended on 31 August were below plan as a result of continued delays in mobilising additional equipment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Production and exports from the company’s Tshipi Borwa manganese mine in South Africa remained on track, despite the project tracking behind plan. Irrespective of the issues reported at the mine, Tshipi delivered 840,469t of manganese during Q2-FY2021, compared with the 694,769t in the first quarter.

According to statistics released by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, the resources sector in Western Australia (WA) reported record sales of A$172bn ($121bn) in the FY2019-20. Iron-ore sales reached a record A$103bn ($72bn) on increased output and an ‘eight-year price high’, while gold sales also increased to an all-time high of almost A$16bn ($11.2bn) with prices averaging more than A$2,300 ($1,620) per ounce. WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: “These record results underpin the importance and resilience of the resources sector as WA recovers from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

 

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – QRC report flags more potential jobs in resource sector – PGG miners in underground strike action – CEOs warn of lingering effects on Latin American mining

24 September

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that its latest State of the Sector report found 43% of resource companies were planning to decrease their use of interstate workers in the long term. This is expected to lead to more jobs in the resources sector as the economy of the state recovers from the impacts of Covid-19. The report is based on feedback received from mining, energy, minerals processing, contracting, exploration, and other business leaders between July and August.

Nearly 200 miners at mines owned by Poland-based coal producer PGG have refused to return the surface. Trade unions and the company said that they are currently protesting in Poland’s southern coal region as the government plans to restructure the industry. These protests were triggered by a lack of progress in talks between the unions, the government and the management of PGG with regard to the restructuring of the company, which is running out of money due to falling demand and increasing costs.

CEOs of mining companies have warned of lingering impacts from Covid-19 at Latin American mines despite the lifting of suspensions as well as declining cases. In many parts of the region, operations were stopped when the pandemic hit in March this year. Government restrictions forced mass suspensions in Peru, Mexico and Argentina, Bnamericas reported. Pan American Silver CEO Michael Steinmann told the Gold Forum Americas online conference: “We see across the board probably about 80% productivity across our operations.”

9:35 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Odisha urges Indian government to defer coal blocks auction – Russian lawmakers support plans to raise tax on mining firms – Yancoal cuts capex

23 September

The government of Indian state Odisha has requested that the central government, postpone the process of coal block auctions by three months in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, ANI reported. In a letter to India’s Union Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi, Odisha Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik stated: “The coal trading has been adversely affected by Covid-19 outbreak, the market value of coal has significantly gone down in comparison to the last year.” According to Mallik, the government may not get a good price for natural mineral resources if the coal block auction is allowed at this time.

Russian lawmakers have supported a plan by the finance ministry to increase taxes for some mining companies and the oil industry. The latest move comes as part of Moscow’s efforts to plug holes left by the Covid-19 crisis, Reuters reported. The higher tax rate is expected to affect the country’s metals producers such as Norilsk Nickel, RUSAL, Evraz and Severstal.

Australian based coal producer and developer Yancoal has decided to defer all non-essential capital expenditure (capex). The latest move comes in the wake of uncertain conditions brought by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Yancoal reduced this year’s capex budget to below A$300m ($217m) from A$380m ($275m) as its main focus is on ‘cost control’ during this period of weaker coal prices.

9:27 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mountain Province conducts first diamond sale since February – Chromium production impacted severely by Covid-19 – AngloGold reinstates 2020 guidance

22 September

Canadian diamond mining company Mountain Province Diamonds held its first traditional commercial diamond sale since the Covid-19 pandemic began. The latest sale marks the company’s first commercial sale since February this year. Mountain Province Diamonds president and CEO Stuart Brown said: “The results of the first small sale, post the Covid-19 Pandemic are an encouraging start considering that the market has been at a standstill for nearly 6 months.” The diamond sales resumption is a major sign of development for the diamond sector, which has been largely shut down by coronavirus-related travel bans and the economic hit of the virus.

Global chromium production and consumption remained “constrained” during the second quarter this year (Q2-2020) due to lockdown measures implemented in various countries as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the International Chromium Development Association (ICDA). However, ICDA warns that the Q2 figures were “preliminary” and confirm the trend of a continued decrease in production due to continuity in the Covid-19 global crisis.

Gold mining company AngloGold Ashanti has reinstated – but trimmed – its annual guidance citing improved operating certainty and the anticipated conclusion of the sale of its assets in South Africa at the end of this month. Updated 2020 production guidance excluding the South African assets is now between 2.80Moz and 2.86Moz. AngloGold Ashanti interim CEO Christine Ramon stated: “We’re pleased to reintroduce guidance, which reflects our greater certainty in relation to full year operating performance.”

9:23 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Minerals Council welcomes South Africa easing restrictions – SSR Mining updates guidance after Alacer merger – CIL output may fall

21 September

The Minerals Council South Africa has welcomed South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s further easing of Covid-19 restrictions and his call to rebuild the country’s economy, restore growth and create jobs. The country moved to alert Level 1 on 20 September, with Ramaphosa also saying “we will gradually and cautiously ease restrictions on international travel” and conditionally open borders from 1 October this year.

SSR Mining has updated its full year 2020 outlook following completion of the company’s merger with Alacer Gold last week. The new production guidance will also reflect the coronavirus-related impacts to operations at the company’s Seabee and Puna mines. Overall, the company expects to produce 680,000oz to 760,000oz gold-equivalent from its four operating mines at consolidated all-in sustaining costs of $965 to $1,040 per each ounce. On 16 September, the merger of Alacer Gold and SSR Mining was completed, with Alacer becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of SSR.

India’s state-owned firm Coal India Limited (CIL) may witness “de-growth” in production during the fiscal year (FY-2021) as its output is likely to fall below 600 million tonnes (Mt) due to sluggish demand, according to analysts. CIL could end the current year with the coal production of around 580Mt as against its revised target of 650Mt-660Mt, PTI reported citing analysts.

 

9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Mining at heart of SA recovery plan – New I-CAT system delayed by Covid-19 – First Quantum exceeds production targets

18 September

South Africa is reportedly seeking to rejuvenate its mining industry to help counter the economic fallout resulting from coronavirus-related lockdowns that had been imposed to curb the spread of the disease. According to Bloomberg,  the mining sector once formed the “bedrock” of Africa’s most-industrialised economy. In order to rebuild investor confidence, the South African government has now identified mining revival as a major part of an economic recovery plan agreed by the government and labour representatives.

The director of environmental management firm I-CAT, Lourens Jansen van Rensburg, said that the company intended to launch a new dust suppression system earlier this year but there were many delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jansen van Rensburg added that the outbreak gave rise to stringent health and safety measures at mines, placing more importance on the need for dust management. I-CAT provides a wide range of dust suppression solutions designed for various mining operations.

Canadian mining and metals company First Quantum Minerals said it exceeded its production targets for July and August despite the challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The company attributed this strong production performance to consistent milling rates in August.

9:29 am

Coronavirus company news summary – First Quantum does not expect further Covid-19 disruptions – SA Minerals Council launches field guide on Covid-19 safety – India’s thermal coal imports fall 41.5% in Q2

17 September

Canadian mining and metals company First Quantum Minerals said it does not expect any further disruptions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, with precautionary measures in place at all its operations. First Quantum’s Cobre Panama mine, which was shut in early April by order of Ministry of Health of the Republic of Panama (MINSA), has not recorded any Covid-19 cases on site since May.

The Minerals Council South Africa has announced the launch of its “Beyond the Mine Gate Field Guide”. This guide is aimed at empowering employees in the mining sector, by “promoting” and “supporting” safe and healthy behaviour within the communities. The field guide has been created with a specific focus on coronavirus-related safety guidance.

According to India’s coal ministry data, imports of thermal coal in the country fell by 41.5% to 32.9 million tonnes (Mt) during the second quarter this year (Q2-2020). Imports by utilities, which forms about three quarters of India’s coal use, fell 41%, Reuters reported. Lower coal imports is actually a good news for the country, as the Indian government is reportedly seeking to cut down fossil fuel imports.

9:26 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Harmony Gold reports loss – Renard diamond mine to restart – Codelco enters agreement with union

16 September

South African gold mining company Harmony Gold Mining posted a full year loss of R828m ($53m) for FY-2020 as a result of the weaker exchange rate despite soaring gold prices. However, there was a 9% increase in revenue to R29.2bn, compared to R26.9bn last year (FY-2019). The South African gold miner had warned that it expects to post a loss as an R1.7bn “derivative loss” hit profits, Reuters reported.

Mining royalty and streaming company Osisko Gold Royalties has announced that operations at the Renard mine in the Canadian province of Quebec will be restarted this month. Operations at the mine were suspended on 24 March, following an order by the public health authorities of the Government of Quebec as part of coronavirus-related health and safety measures. Though the suspension was lifted on 15 April, the Renard mine operations remained closed as the market for diamonds collapsed due to the pandemic.

Codelco, the state-owned mining firm of Chile, has signed a contractual agreement with the supervisors’ union at El Teniente mine. The agreement reflects the new constrained realities of the mining industry following the economic blowout as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a press statement, the company said the agreement that supervisors would not receive a pay rise in the coming contract was supported by 88% of the members of the supervisors’ union and noted that the deal would remain in place for 36 months starting from 1 November this year.

9:28 am

Coronavirus company news summary – QRC urges government for exploration funding – Gemfields expects interim net loss – Protea Mining Chemicals’ solution to tackle copper and cobalt contamination

15 September

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has urged the State government to provide additional funding from its $3bn Covid-19 stimulus package to a collaborative programme which is aimed at boosting exploration for new resource discoveries. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said: “Exploration gives us new resource discoveries, new resource projects, new resource investment, new resource jobs, new resource exports and ultimately new resource royalties for all Queenslanders.”

Precious gemstones mining company Gemfields is expected to swing to an interim net loss for the six months ended on 30 June as the company could only hold one sale due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the company expects to report a net loss after tax of $56.7m in the first half of this year – this figure contrasts with the $12.4m profit that was reported during the same period last year.

Omnia Holdings’ Protea Mining Chemicals division has developed a solution that helps copper and cobalt mines reduce product contamination and increase throughput in the solvent extraction process. The company said in a statement that finding safer ways to extract valuable resources continues to be a priority in the mining sector which has been constrained by the impacts of Covid-19.

9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – gold miners look to reduce costs – Colombia Q2 coal production declines – Vedanta Resources to sell Mt Lyell

14 September

Major gold mining companies across the globe are reducing costs following shutdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic, despite high prices for the precious metal. Cost-conscious executives are prioritising investor returns over production growth, Reuters reported. This year, prices of gold increased 30% to roughly $2,000 an ounce after central banks dialled up stimulus measures in response to the pandemic. According to regulatory filings, gold miners worldwide, including Newmont, Barrick and Gold Fields have cut planned output for the year by 7% amid Covid-19 shutdowns.

The Colombian government has reported that the country’s coal production has declined by 48.8% during the second quarter because of quarantine measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic and low international prices. Reuters quoted the mines and energy ministry and national mining agency as saying in a joint statement that between April and June this year, the country produced 9.7 million tonnes of the fuel, which is down from 18.8 million tonnes last year. For more than five months from March to August, the country was under quarantine measures.

Copper Mines of Tasmania’s (CMT) Indian parent company Vedanta Resources is reportedly planning to sell the mothballed Mt Lyell operation at Queenstown in Australia after the Covid-19 pandemic stalled the mine’s restart plan in February. Vedanta has appointed global investment bank Macquarie Capital for managing the sale process, and also to secure a new owner to take forward the Mt Lyell operation. The mine has been put on care and maintenance since 2014 after three miners died in two separate incidents.

11:45 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid fatalities near 910,000 – infections pass 28.1 million

11 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 28,170,000, with more than 909,000 deaths and 18,995,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

This is primarily driven by increasing cases observed in Latin America, the US, and India.

Cases are rising alarmingly in India with no indication to suggest that cases will decline in the near future.

Argentina is reporting an increasing trend of Covid-19 cases in Latin America.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high numbers of new daily cases.

Total confirmed cases collectively in Africa are very low with only South Africa among the top 30 most affected countries globally.

South Africa is reporting a steady decline in daily new cases in recent days.

However, countries such as Tunisia and Morocco have reported increasing trend of daily new cases.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

9:52 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 28.1 million – Western Europe a new hotspot

11 September

Global: Worldwide Covid-19 cases have now passed 28.1 million, with deaths exceeding 909,000 according to Johns Hopkins University.

Latin America: The number of confirmed coronavirus infections topped eight million in Latin America, though there were indications the spread of the virus was slowing in some countries. During the past week, the daily average of cases in the region fell to 67,173 through Wednesday from 80,512 in the previous seven days, according to a tally by Reuters.

Europe: Western Europe has surpassed the US in new daily infections, re-emerging as a global hotspot after bringing the pandemic under control earlier in the summer. The 27 countries in the European Union plus the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein recorded 27,233 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 26,015 for the US.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.38 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was in line with the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 191,444.

India: India has set another global one-day record for coronavirus infections with 96,551 new cases. The country’s total reported cases are 4,562,414, according to Johns Hopkins data, and deaths stand at 76,271.

Germany: Germany has recorded 1,484 new cases of coronavirus, taking the total of confirmed cases in the country to 2567,850, and 9,342 deaths.

France: France recorded almost 10,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, its highest-ever single-day total, a day before a cabinet meeting that might consider imposing fresh, local lockdowns to curb the spread of the disease.

New Zealand: New Zealand has recorded just one new community case of Covid-19. The person in their 50s is linked to the cluster around the Mt Roskill Evangelical Fellowship group in Auckland.

South Korea: In South Korea, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 176 new cases of Covid-19 as of midnight Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 21,919, with 350 deaths.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 3,144 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said, up from a previous record of 2,836 registered on September 5.

China: Mainland China reported 15 new coronavirus cases at the end of Thursday, up from seven cases a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement all of the cases were imported infections involving travellers from overseas, marking the 26th straight day of no local infections.

Japan: The Japanese government is planning to have testing centres for coronavirus in nightlife districts across the nation in a bid to prevent flare-ups, Yomiuri reported, without saying who provided the information. Areas to be targeted include bar districts in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo and Fukuoka.

UK: Intensive care medics were significantly less likely to have been infected with Covid-19 than cleaners and other healthcare workers in departments deemed a lower risk, according to a study of several British hospitals at the peak of the pandemic.

Vaccine news

Brazil: Brazil is still to decide if it will join the COVAX Facility, a global Covid-19 vaccine allocation plan co-led by the World Health Organization, the acting health minister said on Thursday.

Lockdown updates

Australia: Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, said a curfew imposed to contain the state’s coronavirus outbreak will remain in place as health officials reported 43 new cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours.

Singapore and Japan: Will begin a reciprocal green lane for business and official travel on 18 September, according to a joint government press statement.

Myanmar: A domestic flight ban came into effect in Myanmar on Friday, with Myanmar National Airlines, Air KBZ, Air Thanlwin and other airlines announcing the suspension of their services, many for at least two weeks.

Colombia: Maria Orozco, Colombia’s transport minister, said international flights to and out of the country will begin gradually, starting on 21 September, following a six-month hiatus to contain the spread of coronavirus.

US: The US is ending its Covid-19 screening of international travellers arriving at airports as airlines seek new ways to more aggressively test for the virus to boost traffic.

 

9:22 am

Coronavirus company news summary – India proposes reforms for mining sector – B2Gold commissions mill expansion at Fekola – Metro Mining to close Bauxite Hills Mine

11 September

Indian Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi and officials have reviewed the progress of the country’s mining sector and proposed reforms for stimulating overall economic growth amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The Minister deliberated on a road map to make the mining industry more competitive. The reforms are also aimed at accelerating growth and employment generation in the mining sector. They include removal of the distinction between captive and non-captive mines and also the development of a transparent National Mineral Index, among others.

B2Gold has announced the successful commissioning of the mill expansion at the Fekola Mine to 7.5 million tonnes a year, which is about one month ahead of the scheduled completion date of 30 September 2020. The company noted that no operational days have been lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic or the recent political developments in Mali. Recently, B2Gold partnered with the government to assist the people of Mali in facing the challenges created by the pandemic as well as its impact on the mining sector.

Metro Mining has announced plans to close its Bauxite Hills Mine in Cape York as the company struggles to win Chinese contracts. The closure is expected to result in the loss of hundreds of jobs. Only 10% of workers are expected to be retained to maintain the site. Metro Mining CEO Simon Finnis said that the decision comes due to a dramatic decline in global aluminium prices as China, which is the company’s sole market, stopped buying bauxite to manufacture aluminium during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Karora Resources has discovered new high-grade gold and nickel zones, the Larkin Gold Zone and 30C Nickel Trough, at its Beta Hunt Mine located south of the Alpha Island Fault. Chairman and CEO Paul Andre Huet said that the company is witnessing early successes following the delays and precautions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

9:13 am

Why US dollar will remain dominant in spite of Covid

11 September

The weakening of the US dollar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the new policies proposed by the Federal Reserve, led to speculations that the US dollar is losing its dominance as a global currency.

However, there is ‘push back’ that these speculations are exaggerated because ‘there are no other contenders’ for a reserve currency.

Daniel Lacalle, an economist and author, tweeted on how the US dollar index lost 10% since March and the speculations surrounding its collapse as a reserve currency.

He noted that these speculations are false and that the US dollar index has weakened only relative to the Euro and the Yen.

Lacalle added that the status of the US dollar as a reserve currency is not at risk as there is no other contender.

 

Read more

10:30 am

International update: Global Covid deaths likely to pass 1 million by October – infections near 28 million

10 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed 903,000 – just over ten weeks after passing 500,000. If global deaths continued at the current rate, the toll is likely to pass one million before 1 October, ten months after the World Health Organization was first informed of the first cases in Wuhan, China. The number of cases worldwide is nearing 28 million.

Europe: Infections continue to rise rapidly across Europe. France has seen its second-highest one-day case total of the pandemic so far and hospitalisations are at a one-month high, as the Netherlands and Portugal both confirmed their highest daily infections since April.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.2% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 6.33 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.6% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.3% to 189,972.

India: India has reported another record for daily coronavirus cases with the health ministry confirming 95,735 cases over the past 24 hours. Some 1,172 people in India also died from the virus, the ministry said.

Mexico: Mexico reported 4,647 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 647,507, according to data released by the Health Ministry Wednesday night. Cases rose 0.7%, compared with a seven-day average rise of 0.8%.

Spain: Spain’s daily coronavirus infections climbed close to last week’s four-month high, as the country struggles to control fresh outbreaks. There were 4,410 new cases in the past 24 hours, compared with 3,168 recorded Tuesday and taking the total to 543,379, according to Health Ministry data.

New Zealand: New Zealand’s health minister has pleaded with people to stop spreading misinformation about the coronavirus, as the government struggles to contain a mini-cluster centred on an evangelical church in Auckland.

Lockdown updates

UK: Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes a mass testing programme is the UK’s “only hope for avoiding a second national lockdown before a vaccine”, according to leaked official documents.

Japan: Japan plans to lift restrictions on bar and restaurant opening hours. Tokyo is reportedly planning to lift restrictions on opening hours for bars and restaurants, as new coronavirus cases in the city continued on a downward trend.

Australia: Australia’s health minister says the state of Victoria should consider lifting a night-time curfew in Melbourne if it wasn’t imposed for health reasons. The state has been under pressure over the 8pm (10:00 GMT) – 5am (19:00 GMT) curfew since the chief health officer told local radio he hadn’t recommended the policy.

Indonesia: Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan says the Indonesian capital will head back into lockdown as it steps up efforts to tackle what he said was an “emergency – more pressing than the start of the pandemic.”

Economic updates

US: New York City restaurants struggling to stay in business after months of closures imposed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic won a long-awaited approval on Wednesday to resume limited indoor dining.

Indonesia: Indonesia’s benchmark stock index fell 5% after its capital brought back social distancing measures amid a continued rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

 

9:33 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Resolute receives Syama strike notice – Excellon reports strong production after Platosa restart – Eskom supply disruptions to impact mining

10 September

Resolute Mining has warned of a 10-day strike action at the Syama gold mine in Mali, after the company received notice from the Local Union Committee of the Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Mali SOMISY-SA informing that the strike will be launched if certain demands are not met. The company said that the union’s principal demand is related to a request to reinstate workers of the mine who have been stood down on full pay due to the company’s protocols related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Resolute said its comprehensive, company-wide response to the coronavirus pandemic implemented by the company prioritises the health, safety and well-being of its employees, contractors and stakeholders.

Excellon Resources has reported strong production in July this year after restarting the Platosa mine in mid-June, and said that trend continued through August. On the resumption of operations after the government-mandated suspension of non-essential business activities in the second quarter, the company provided safety and Covid-19 exposure prevention training for two days. It also reorganised the workforce and implemented better work schedules and various ventilation, mining method and other business improvements. Furthermore, Excellon implemented prevention, hygiene and safety measures, health screening, travel restrictions, contact tracing, testing and quarantine protocols related to the pandemic.

Increasing disruptions to supply of power from troubled South African utility company Eskom is expected to have an impact on mining companies and their plans to make investments, according to two industry executives. Impala Platinum chief executive Nico Muller was quoted by Reuters as saying during a platinum group metals conference that the impact of Eskom is far more pronounced than the Covid-19 impact.

9:23 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.8 million – deaths exceed 903,000

10 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,871,000, with more than 903,000 deaths and 18,780,000 recoveries.

India is the most affected country from Covid-19 with over 90,000 daily new cases and over 1,000 daily new deaths.

The US and Brazil continue to report the high number of daily new cases, but the daily new cases have started to gradually decline in both countries.

In Europe, France and Spain are reporting high number of daily new cases and the testing positivity rate is also rising in these countries.

According to World Health Organization, countries worldwide are now experiencing disruptions in child and maternal health services and vaccinations, as the economic and health resources are diverted to manage Covid-19.

This might reverse the years of progress made in child and maternal health.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

8:20 am

Climate change adds to Covid driven economic woes

10 September

Wildfires and flooding have become increasingly common due to the effects of climate change.

As these changes increase, they are expected to majorly impact a financial system already under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Matthew E. Kahn, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Economics and Business at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on how a new report from the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission has highlighted the impact of climate change on financial markets.

The report states that the disruptions caused by climate change can threaten the fundamental conditions that support the country’s financial system.

US President Donald Trump had downplayed the impact of climate change on economic growth.

The new report is a first from a government entity highlighting the damage that climate change can have on financial markets.

The first risk posed by climate change is expected to be rising prices of homes and mortgage default rates due to the wildfires and flooding.

Climate change is also expected to impact agricultural commodity prices, the report added.

In other news, Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on more than 10,000 deaths related Covid-19 in Argentina.

Despite having a strict lockdown, the country has not been able to control the spread of the virus.

Read more

9:25 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Lucapa to restart Mothae diamond mine – Major Drilling’s Canada and US operations see Q1 decline – WPIC reports strenghtened investment demand for platinum

9 September

Lucapa Diamond Company along with its partner, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, has announced plans to restart diamond mining operations at the Mothae restrictions. Isolation measures have forced the company to suspend operations at the mine in March this year. A mine restart plan approved by the government, Lucapa and the Mothae Board of Directors will see the mine return to operations in the fourth quarter of this year with the implementation of further health and safety protocols.

Major Drilling Group International has reported that the company’s revenue for the first quarter that ended 31 July 2020 from Canada and US drilling operations has declined by 24.6% compared to the same period last year to $46m, as the region witnessed continued shutdowns during the quarter due to government and customer imposed restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of the quarter, operations had resumed on various projects under improved safety protocols. South and Central American revenue also fell by 40.4% to $19.5m for the quarter.

Trigon Metals has delayed the investment and financing process with Shandong Xinhai Mining Technology & Equipment beyond its original timing expectations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Trigon has been in ongoing discussions with Xinhai regarding the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the parties in March last year. Pursuant to the MoU, Xinhai expressed the intention to invest in Trigon by part of the EPC contract amount in exchange for the right to be appointed as the EPC contractor for open pit mining operations at the Kombat mine. Xinhai has now agreed to halt its processes to align with Trigon’s strategy to potentially develop a larger operation.

The latest edition of Platinum Quarterly released by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) has revealed that while the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted the economy worldwide, investment demand for platinum strengthened in the second quarter of this year. This comes as the combination of increased global risk and monetary and fiscal policy responses to the crisis boosted the appeal of precious metals, including platinum. WPIC reported a revised 2020 forecast that has moved the platinum market into an annual deficit of -336 koz compared to the prior estimate of a +247 koz surplus.

8:38 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.5 million – deaths near 90,000

9 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,575,000, with more than 897,000 deaths and 18,535,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.3 million total confirmed cases.

However, India is currently reporting the highest number of daily new cases in the world, and on current trajectory could overtake the US in the future.

Western European countries have recently seen a rise in daily new cases that seems to have coincided with the reopening of their economies.

England will ban the social gathering of more than six people from September 14. This strict measure will be undertaken as cases have started to rise alarmingly in recent days.

This restriction is for private gatherings and will not apply to workplaces and schools.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

7:58 am

How stimulus wrangles could deepen US recession

9 September

The Democrats and Republicans are yet to reach a consensus on further stimulus package for the US economy.

The delay in releasing stimulus into the economy could worsen the unemployment rate and force states to increase spending cuts.

Adam Posen, president of Peterson Institute for International Economics, shared an article on how additional stimulus is essential for the US economy to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Democrats propose a stimulus package of $3.4tn, while the Republicans have proposed $1tn.

Lack of consensus on the stimulus may result in spending cuts by states causing a deeper recession, loss of between 4% and 5% of GDP and an increase in unemployment by 4% to 5%.

Black families and minorities are expected to be worst affected.

In addition, Mark Weisbrot, co-director of Center for Economic & Policy Research, shared an article on how states in the US are in a financial crisis.

Read more

10:20 am

International update: Covid deaths exceed 892,000 – infection rates rise in Europe

8 September

Global: The global coronavirus death toll has passed another sombre milestone, exceeding 892,000 as confirmed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll is likely to be higher, due to differing testing rates and definitions, time lags and suspected underreporting in some countries. Global Covid cases exceed 27.3 million.

India: India has reported the most deaths from coronavirus in a month. The health ministry says 1,133 people died of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, lifting the total death toll to 72,775. Infections have passed 4.2 million.

Spain: Spain has become the first western European country to record more than half a million Covid-19 cases, logging a total of 525,549 infections.

France: A leading epidemiologist in France has warned that if the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise at the current rate, the country could face a “critical situation” in several regions in December.

UK: England’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the rise in the number of coronavirus cases was of great concern adding: “We have got to start taking this very seriously again”.

Vaccine news

US: An unsubstantiated claim two weeks ago by President Trump – that the “deep state” was slowing approval of a Covid-19 vaccine – has set off an effort by government officials and private industry to ensure the White House doesn’t interfere with a methodical, careful scientific process.

Europe: The European Commission said it is close to reaching an agreement with BioNTech SE on the supply of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

Mexico: Mexico will participate in the Covax facility led by the World Health Organization to obtain vaccines via the global program to equitably distribute Covid-19 vaccines, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo formed a national team to accelerate the development of Covid-19 vaccine in a rule signed on 3 September, according to the Cabinet Secretariat.

Japan: Japan has approved the use $6.3 billion from its emergency budget to secure coronavirus vaccines.

Lockdown updates

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s government will further ease virus-related restrictions and allow restaurants to seat four people per table instead of the current limit of two, Hong Kong Economic Times reported, citing unidentified people.

Japan: The Japanese government is considering eliminating the cap of 5,000 people it has on event sizes as soon as Sept. 19 after determining that the coronavirus outbreak is easing, Kyodo reported, citing an unidentified official.

Singapore: About 13,000 workers who haven’t undergone routine coronavirus testing as of Sept. 6 will be banned from returning to work to ensure the safety of other workers, the Singapore government said in a joint statement.

Economic updates

Japan: Japan’s economy shrank slightly more than initially thought in the April-June quarter, official data released Tuesday showed, deepening a contraction that was already the worst in the nation’s modern history.

9:17 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 27.3 million – more than 892,000 deaths

8 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 27,342,000, with over 892,000 deaths and 18,338,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

European countries such as Spain and France have reported alarming increase in daily new cases in recent days.

However, The US, India, and Brazil are still the primary driver of these increases.

This is due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Studies have reported the long-term effect of Covid-19.

In the UK, estimated 60,000 people had symptoms for more than three months.

Long term symptoms ranged from mild to debilitating requiring medical support and rehabilitation.

Bishal Bhandari, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:09 am

Dollar facing pressure from the Chinese yuan – Covid puts brake on Indian economy

8 September

The US Federal Reserve’s new policies drafted to increase inflation are aimed to improve the country’s economy. However, these policies may weaken the dollar.

Peter Morici, an economist and professor at the University of Maryland, shared an article on how the Federal Reserve’s policies to increase inflation may threaten the dollar’s dominance as a global currency.

The article noted that although the Federal Reserve has announced the policy change, the central bank’s policy making powers have diminished over the years due to the globalisation of US securities markets and dollar’s dominance in global commerce.

The Federal Reserve needs to finance federal deficits and drive inflation by printing money to ensure the dollar’s dominance as the Chinese Yuan is fast emerging as a rival to the currency.

Meanwhile, India’s economic prospects look bleak, as the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting an economy that was already in slowdown.

Read more

9:09 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Hochschild Mining expects lower production for 2020 – Polyus reports rise in Q2 net profit – Black Rock reports progress on due diligence activities at Mahenge

8 September

Hochschild Mining has reported that the overall revised attributable production target for 2020 is 280,000-290,000 gold equivalent ounces or 24.0-25.0 million silver equivalent ounces. This reduction is primarily due to the operational stoppages due to Covid-19 lockdowns and also reflects temporary delays in mine sequencing. The revised guidance for this year comes after the company completed an assessment of the overall impact from the stoppages and the resulting revised mine plans that also reflect ongoing restrictions related to the pandemic.

Russia-based gold producer Polyus has reported a 63% year-on-year increase in second-quarter net profit to $684m due to a 31% rise in gold prices. The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) during the quarter stood at $860m, up 42% year-on-year, while revenue rose 29% to $1.2bn. During this period, it could maintain uninterrupted operations at all assets, despite a Covid-19 outbreak at its Olimpiada mine in Russia that was contained.

Tanzania-based graphite developer Black Rock Mining has announced that its strategic alliance and development partner POSCO is making meaningful progress on various due diligence activities at the Mahenge Graphite Project. Black Rock managing director and CEO John de Vries said that the revised due diligence schedule will accommodate for the impact from ongoing Covid-19 related restrictions and further allow POSCO to complete its remaining work under a sensible timeframe. Travel restrictions and logistics constraints due to the pandemic have impacted the ability for POSCO to achieve timely site access and sample logistics. Because of this, Black Rock has agreed with the company on a sensible revised timeframe for the completion of due diligence work.

12:57 pm

International update: Global Covid cases pass 27.1 million – India second most infected with 4.2 million

7 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths have passed 889,000 with more than 27.1 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases are rising in 22 of the 50 US states, a Reuters analysis has found. Three weeks ago, cases were only rising in three states – Hawaii, Illinois and South Dakota.

“Pandemic fatigue” is an additional risk as the US heads into the fall and winter, when infectious diseases traditionally spread more readily, former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said.

India: India has recorded a global one-day record of more than 90,000 positive coronavirus cases, taking the country past Brazil as the second most infected country in the world, with 4.2 million confirmed cases.

UK: Nearly 3,000 more people in the UK tested have positive for Covid-19, with 2,988 new cases reported on Sunday – a sharp increase from 1,813, and the highest number of new cases since 23 May.

Ireland: Ireland recorded another 138 new cases, with about half the new infections in Dublin, according to health authorities. That pushed the weekend total to almost 370, the worst weekend figure since early May.

France: France reported 7,071 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, showing the pandemic is continuing to progress at a “worrying” pace, the health ministry said in a statement Sunday.

Italy: Italy reported 1,297 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. This is the smallest increase in five days amid lower than usual testing at the end of the week.

Philippines: Researchers from the University of the Philippines said that the spread of Covid-19 in the country is slowing down, citing the rate of reproduction in major cities

Hong Kong: An estimated 1.13 million residents of Hong Kong have signed up for free coronavirus testing in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Syria: A United Nations official has said that more than 200 of its staff in Syria have contracted coronavirus.

Vaccine news

Australia: Australia on Monday said it will receive the first batches of a potential Covid-19 vaccine in January 2021, as the country’s virus hotspot said the number of new daily infections has fallen to a 10-week low.

Greece: Nearly half of Greeks (44%) would refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to a poll of 1,000 respondents published on Sunday.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia’s government warned of mounting economic pain as Victoria state announced only a gradual easing of its coronavirus lockdown that will see retail, hospitality, tourism and entertainment under tight controls across Melbourne until at least the end of October.

 

9:31 am

Coronavirus company news summary – WA, Austmine open mining export hub – GIDC receives more time for Dongri Tal coal block – Ironbark Zinc to improve feasibility of Citronen project

7 September

The Western Australia (WA) government and Austmine have opened the METS Digital Mining Export Hub in Port Hedland to enable the state to build export capacity and opportunities between regional, remote and metropolitan small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said that the export hub will be vital in supporting the State’s recovery post-Covid-19, and will also be a boost to jobs and local economies. The launch featured the first of a series of outreach activities that have been designed to engage with the State’s METS businesses.

Goa Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) has received a 45-day extension to pay the performance security and appoint a transaction advisor for the Dongri Tal II coal block at Singrauli, located in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. GIDC wrote to the Union ministry of coal requesting more time for completing these coal block formalities due to Covid-19. Goa secured the block as part of the fifth tranche of allotment by the coal ministry.

Ironbark Zinc is set to further improve the feasibility and economics of its 100%-owned Citronen Zinc-Lead Project in Greenland with optimisation work aiming to make operational improvements to the mine plan. Ironbark managing director Michael Jardine said that the board remains committed to its strategy of completing the refresh of all key elements of the previous feasibility study work before pursuing a project investment decision. Despite difficulties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, all study streams are expected to be finalised by the first quarter of next year.

 

8:24 am

How remote working can improve wellbeing and help control Covid-19

7 September

Many companies across the world have opted for remote working operations to safeguard their business and employees.

Remote working, however, has an indirect impact on the businesses that are dependent on employees for their business.

Julian Jessop, an independent economist and writer, shared an article, how working from home (WFH) can cost £15bn a year for the UK, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

WFH is expected to severely impact coffee shops, security guards and support jobs causing a GDP loss of 1%.

Various businesses who are reliant on office goers for their business have already started to feel the impact of the pandemic induced remote working.

Pret A Manger, for example, operates primarily near to office blocks and has announced its plans to cut 3,000 jobs. Further, the company is planning to expand into suburbs to sustain its business.

Jessop opined that the impact of WFH on GDP, is a small price to pay compared to the improvements it will provide in wellbeing such as less commuting.

Remote working can also help in controlling the pandemic, Jessop noted.

Read more

2:21 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 26.3 million – deaths exceed 869,000

4 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,337,000, with more than 869,000 deaths and 17,545,000 recoveries as daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

The US continues to rank highest in the world with over 6.1 million total confirmed cases, followed by Brazil with over 4 million total confirmed cases, and India with over 3.9 million total confirmed cases.

Additionally, the US continues to report a high death toll, contributing approximately 22% to global deaths, followed by India with 14%, and Brazil with 8%.

In Thailand, just one day after marking a significant milestone of 100 days with no local transmission of the coronavirus, a new case was identified.

This case had tested positive after arriving at a correctional center, and after a detailed case history, was determined to be locally transmitted.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

11:01 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26.3 million – US gears up for early vaccine roll out

4 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths are nearing 869,000 with more than 26.3 million cases according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.7% as compared with the same time Wednesday to 6.13 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 186,293.

Brazil: Brazil has recorded more than four million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,341 coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 3.94 million, health ministry data showed.

Ukraine: Ukraine registered a record 2,723 cases of the new coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Friday, up from a previous record of 2,495 cases.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 81 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours. It also added 50 deaths from people who passed away in aged care facilities in July and August.

France: France registered more than 7,000 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours for the second time in two days, the health ministry said on Thursday, while hospitalisations for the virus also rose again.

Mexico: Mexico leads the world in coronavirus deaths among its healthcare workers, Amnesty International has said in a new report. The report said Mexico has reported 1,320 confirmed deaths among health workers from Covid-19 so far, surpassing the United States at 1,077, the United Kingdom at 649, and Brazil at 634.

Thailand: Thailand has reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in 100 days, after a prison inmate was confirmed to have Covid-19. Dozens of contacts are now being tested, including his family members, people he met in court and other inmates. He had been arrested for drug offences on 26 August.

South Korea: Doctors have agreed to end a two-week strike, which has hindered efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Friday, after overnight talks over the government’s medical reform plans, Reuters reports.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s new universal testing blitz has identified six infections, initial results showed a sign the campaign could uncover hidden infections despite limited participation.

Vaccine news

US: Authorization of a Covid-19 vaccine by 1 November when US health officials have told states to be prepared to distribute shots is “extremely unlikely but not impossible,” Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser to Operation Warp Speed told NPR’s All Things Considered on Thursday.

Federal public health officials in the US have asked their state counterparts to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk individuals as early as late October.

Lockdown updates

Israel: Israel announced Thursday a new lockdown affecting 30 areas as it grapples with one of the world’s highest detected per capita infection rates and a death toll nearing 1,000, AFP reports.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that the country’s current restrictions to beat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic would be retained until mid-September. The largest city, Auckland, will remain on alert level 2.5, while the rest of the country will be on alert level 2.0, Ardern told a news conference. The settings would be reviewed on 14 September, she said.

UK: English tourists in Greece and Portugal have been spared the cost and chaos of rushing back to the UK after the British government defied expectations and maintained quarantine-free travel from both countries for the time being.

Australia: Health minister Greg Hunt extended restrictions on international travel and the entry of cruise ships until 17 December to protect the country against the spread of the coronavirus.

Economic updates

Turkey: Turkey has extended by two months a layoff ban it introduced to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that most state and territory leaders in Australia were recommitted to opening up the country’s economy by December. But he didn’t secure an immediate agreement to lift the border restrictions hampering the recovery.

 

9:24 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Datametrex supplies Covid-19 kits to Canadian miner – Minerals Council SA updates on virus testing – Implats reports rise in annual earnings

4 September

Technology company Datametrex has received a purchase order from a mining company in Canada for Covid-19 test kits for its Peru and Suriname mining operations. Datametrex will provide an initial 50,000 units of the Covid-19 qPCR Detection Kits which were manufactured by 1drop. Additionally, the company will supply 50,000 Universal Transport Medium (UTM), Sterile Swabs with 16x100mm and Skirted Tubes. It is also shipping two Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Detection System (PCR) machines along with software to ensure optimal assay performance of the samples, and 50,000 RNA extraction kits.

Members of the Minerals Council South Africa have outlined their Covid-19 testing initiatives and the mitigating impact it has had on the incidence of the virus at their operations. The initiatives also improved the availability of testing in their surrounding communities. Minerals Council public affairs and transformation senior executive Tebello Chabana said that the industry realised early that its testing approach was going to be risk-based and rigorous compared to other industries.

South African company Impala Platinum (Implats) has reported an increase in annual earnings by nearly 400% after higher metal prices and a weaker rand offset the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company extracts palladium and rhodium together with platinum. Higher prices of these metals also boosted profits as the dollar basket price of the main minerals the company mines increased by 46% year-on-year. South Africa’s mining has been hit hard by Covid-19 as lockdowns led to mine closures, but a weak local currency limited the impact of reduced output.

Gem Diamonds has reported that its pretax profit sharply narrowed during the first half of the year, amid a decline in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first half, the company made a profit of $2.5m compared with $18.7m in the same period a year agoas the pandemic hit the diamond industry. Revenue declined to $69.5m from $91.3m a year ago.

9:04 am

How healthcare investment can boost jobs

4 September

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of having a robust healthcare system for every country across the world.

Increasing healthcare investment can not only create new jobs amid the pandemic but also create a more productive population.

Amanda Larsson, campaigner with Greenpeace NZ, tweeted on how investment in care in the UK can create 2.7 times new jobs that are equivalent to investment in construction.

Investment in care can also create 6.3 times as many jobs for women and 10% more for men.

The tweet was based on report from the Women’s Budget Group, an independent think tank, on how investment in care can stimulate employment and reduce gender employment gap.

Developing a better care system will require a major proportion of the population to be employed in the healthcare sector thereby increasing the overall employment rate.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post highlights a looming unemployment crisis for the US.

Read more

2:02 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – Brazil and India near 4 million

3 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 26,062,000, with over 863,000 deaths and 17,315,000 recoveries.

In the majority of countries in the European, African, Eastern Mediterranean, and Western Pacific regions, daily confirmed cases continue to decrease, while the Americas and South-East Asia continue to see a rise in daily cases.

The US, Brazil, and India primarily drive these increases due to the sheer magnitude of total confirmed cases that rank them first, second, and third highest in the world, respectively.

Brazil and India are both now approaching 4 million cases.

Meanwhile, Israel set a record high with over 3,000 daily confirmed cases reported today.

This marks the country’s biggest one-day jump, and brings the total number of confirmed cases to nearly 123,000.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

9:48 am

International update: Global Covid cases pass 26 million – more than 863,000 deaths

3 September

Global: Global Covid-19 deaths passed 863,000 with more than 26 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The highest death toll is in the US, where 185,707 people have died.

Testing people twice for the coronavirus, with a nasal swab followed by an antibody finger prick test, would catch most of those people who fail to get the right Covid-19 diagnosis, researchers believe.

Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials has found, prompting the World Health Organization to update its advice on treatment.

US: The Trump administration is planning to cut its membership dues to the World Health Organization, in a legally controversial move that will be challenged by Congress.

India: India reported a daily jump of 83,883 coronavirus infections on Thursday, taking its tally to 3.85 million, just 100,000 behind Brazil, the world’s second most affected nation, health ministry data showed. According to Johns Hopkins, this is the second-highest one day total ever reported, with India breaking the world record on 26 August with more than 85,000 cases.

Australia:  Victoria state on Thursday reported a triple-digit rise in new Covid-19 infections for the first time in four days, denting optimism that the second wave of cases has been contained. The state said that 113 new cases were detected in the past 24 hours, an increase on the 90 infections reported on Wednesday.

Brazil: Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll appears to be easing for the first time since May, a sign the Latin American country could be descending from a long infection plateau that has seen it suffer the world’s second-worst outbreak after the United States.

Turkey: Turkey is seeing a second peak of its coronavirus outbreak due to “carelessness” at weddings and other social gatherings, its health minister has said, amid a rapid rise in the number of daily cases and deaths.

France: Daily new Covid-19 infections in France neared an all-time high on Wednesday and the number of people hospitalised in intensive care units for the disease grew at its fastest pace in almost two months.

France reported 7,017 coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, raising the seven-day average increase to the highest since the outbreak began.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,311 to 246,166, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

South Korea: South Korea has reported 195 new cases of coronavirus. That’s the lowest since August 17, according to Yonhap News Agency. While there are signs the spike that began last month is easing – thanks to stricter distancing rules – a record number of patients are in critical condition.

Lockdown updates

China: An Air China flight from Phnom Penh was the first international flight to land in Beijing after direct flights from eight countries were allowed to resume. Passengers must have tested negative for Covid-19 before they board and complete a 14-day government-run quarantine on arrival.

UK: The UK government is “anxiously monitoring” increasing hospital admissions in France and Spain, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified colleagues of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

9:19 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Codelco reports July production decline – Coal India posts increase in shipments – Nigeria mines minister optimistic for recovery

3 September

Codelco has reported a 4.4% decline in year-on-year production in July this year as the Covid-19 pandemic hit its peak in the country, due to which the company was forced to reduce staffing, slow projects and switch off a smelter. During July, the company produced 133,300t of copper, which was up 2.3% over the first seven months of this year compared to the previous year.

Coal India has posted the first rise in monthly shipments since February this year, following a pickup in demand for the fuel due to easing of Covid-19-related restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the virus. Last month, the company shipped 44.34 million tonnes of coal, which is 9.3% more compared to the previous year. The company filing showed that production increased 7% to 37.2 millions tonnes, Bloomberg reported.

Nigeria Minister of Mines Olamilekan Adegbite said that the country aims to have 50 mines in operation by the year 2023 and can make up for time lost due to the Covid-19 impact on development of the sector. Adegbite was quoted by Reuters as saying that the pandemic has slowed things down, but the country is still able to catch up. Mining in the country is expected to increase tenfold in five years to account for 3% of the economy.

The mining sector in Brazil is expected to witness key developments in the second half of this year, as the government and investors see signs that the worst phase of Covid-19’s impact on the economy has passed. The country’s mining regulator ANM aims to win approval of a new rule on guarantees for projects that are seeking financing and has launched a public hearing for assessing the new rule for use by companies to explore minerals.

8:14 am

Australian unemployment hits 22 year high as economy tanks

3 September

The Australian economy officially entered recession as it posted two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth.

Despite government measures such as increased spending and cutting interest rates to zero, the country has not been able to avoid a recession.

Timothy McBride, Bernard Becker Professor at Washington University, shared an article on Australia entering recession for the first time in decades, following two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Even though the country was able to avoid any major impact from the 2008 global financial crisis, it has not been able to escape the impact of the pandemic.

Australia may find it difficult to recover in the post-Covid-19 scenario due to slowdown in growth of China, which is its biggest trade partner.

Further, the country may face other long-term problems such as climate change disasters including wildfires, wage growth stagnation and a housing bubble.

Unemployment levels also remain high at 7.5%, which is the worst in 22 years. The figures are expected to rise as the downturn continues.

Read more

2:46 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Trend still upwards – Covid cases near 25.8 million

2 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,785,000, with over 857,000 deaths and 17,095,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, total confirmed cases and total deaths continue to rise.

This is primarily driven by increasing trends observed in Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

More specifically, the US, Brazil, and India contribute over 50% of cases to the global confirmed case burden, and over 40% of deaths to the global death toll.

Meanwhile, Indonesia continues to report a surge in daily confirmed cases, likely underestimated due to limited testing capacity.

As total confirmed cases surpass 180,000, the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on healthcare workers, with Indonesia experiencing one of the highest mortality rates among this group compared with the rest of the world.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:40 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.7 million – US go alone on vaccine

2 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.7 million with more than 857,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

US: The White House says it will send most of its newly-purchased 150 million rapid response Covid-19 tests to the states for schools, day care centres and emergency services.

President Donald Trump said thousands more people have died from the coronavirus in China than the Beijing government has acknowledged. China has reported 4,724 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — far fewer than the 184,644 deaths in the US, which has the highest number in the world.

South America: Latest figures show Mexico passed 600,000 cases and Colombia has racked up over 20,000 deaths, as the virus continues to take its toll in the Americas.

South Korea: The number of confirmed cases in South Korea fell for a fifth day after peaking at 441 last week, which was the biggest gain since early March. The government reported 267 new infections for 1 September, the fourth straight day below 300.

South Korean officials warned the high rate of infection among over-60s was placing strain on the country’s health system as it battles a second wave.

Ukraine: There has been a surge in cases in the Ukraine with a record 2,495 new cases in the past 24 hours, the national security council said on Wednesday, up from a previous record of 2,481 cases.

China: There have been another eight new cases of the virus in mainland China up to midnight on Tuesday, the health ministry said on Wednesday morning.

Germany: Germany has seen its new cases rise by 1,256 to 244,855, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

Pakistan: Experts are puzzled by Pakistan’s relatively low number of cases and deaths. It has just under 300,000 infections compared with almost four million in neighbouring India.

Australia: Cases continue to ease in Australia’s south-eastern state of Victoria. The state confirmed 90 new cases on Wednesday, compared with a peak of more than 700 last month.

Thailand: Thailand has reported no locally-transmitted Covid-19 cases for 100 straight days, joining a small group of places like Taiwan where the pathogen has almost been eliminated.

Vaccine news

US: The Trump administration says it will not work with other countries to develop and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine. It said it did not want to be constrained by “multilateral organizations influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China”.

A Covid-19 vaccine could be available earlier than expected if clinical trials produce overwhelmingly positive results, Anthony Fauci said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. US stock futures rose after the nation’s top infectious disease official said that an independent panel could halt the trials before their expected conclusion at the end of the year.

Antibodies humans make to fight the coronavirus last for at least four months after diagnosis and do not fade quickly, countering concerns to the contrary. US scientists said their study of 30,000 Icelanders offered hope that a vaccine could produce sustained resistance.

Japan: Japan is considering offering a vaccine free of charge to every citizen, according to Kyodo news agency.

Lockdown updates

Scotland: The Scottish government is re-imposing a ban on household gatherings in three local authorities in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area for the next two weeks amid alarm about rising infections in recent days.

China: State media in China is reporting that people in the far western region of Xinjiang have resumed “normal life order and production” after a sudden spike in cases last month.

South Korea: South Korea imposed stronger social-distancing regulations in the greater Seoul area from 30 August to 6 September.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia has slumped into recession for the first time in nearly 30 years as the coronavirus pandemic finally ended its record run of economic prosperity.

India: India is considering extending its flagship rural jobs program to urban workers hurt by lockdowns. The new program would start in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion), said Sanjay Kumar, a joint secretary in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

 

9:45 am

Second wave Covid-19 threatens manufacturing bounce back

2 September

Manufacturing activity is slowly returning to normal levels as countries begin to lift lockdown restrictions.

Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to EY ITEM Club, shared an article on the increase in global manufacturing levels.

Manufacturing activity increased to a 21-month high of 51.8 in August supported by stimulus packages across Europe, Asia and North America.

However, the recovery is expected to be uneven as new waves of infections curb business activity.

The resurgence of infections is discouraging companies to boost capital expenditure thereby delaying the rebound in the industry.

Experts note that recovery in manufacturing activity will grow at a modest pace, although China’s manufacturing activity has expanded at the fastest rate compared to other countries.

Read more

9:18 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Peru copper production recovers – TerraCom reports loss – Exxaro Resources update on Covid-19 testing

2 September

A Peruvian government official said that copper mining in the country had almost completely recovered from the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Reuters. However, copper production in the country fell 2.2% in July to 198,796t, compared to the same period last year. Peru is the world’s second largest producer of copper.

Australia-based coal miner TerraCom has reported an annual loss of around $146.1m over the 2020 financial year (FY), compared to an $11.3m loss in FY2019. The company nonetheless reported some strong production and sales figures despite coronavirus-linked restrictions. The Australian miner said that refinancing risks related to a large eurobond repayment that is due for next year had raised “uncertainty” over the company’s ability to remain in business.

South African mining company Exxaro Resources has conducted over 100 Covid-19 tests at two of its testing laboratories. These Covid-19 PCR testing laboratories, according to the company’s CEO Mxolisi Mgojo, form a key part of Exxaro’s health and wellness strategy. They are located at Grootgeluk mine’s Marapong occupational health facility in Limpopo and the Matla coal mine’s occupational health centre in Mpumalanga.

2:19 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.5 million – Europe fears resurgence

1 September

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,508,000, with over 851,000 deaths and 16,847,000 recoveries.

Across the world, daily confirmed cases continue to rise.

Of the top ten most affected countries, less than half continue to report increasing trends in daily confirmed cases: India, Spain, and Argentina.

However, these countries contribute roughly 25% to the top ten total confirmed case burden, and nearly 20% to the global total confirmed case burden.

In Europe, France, Germany, and Spain fear a potential resurgence of cases, with reports of moderate to severe upticks in their seven-day average of daily confirmed cases.

The possible onset of a second wave of infections has prompted government and public health officials to re-evaluate lockdown measures and reallocate resources to track outbreaks.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:09 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.5 million

1 September

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 25.5 million with more than 850,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A World Health Organization survey of 105 countries shows that 90% have experienced disruption to their health services as a result of the coronavirus, with low- and middle-income countries the most affected.

US: The number of infections in the United States surpassed six million. Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.4% as compared with the same time Sunday to 6.03 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News.

India: India has added nearly two million coronavirus cases in one month, jumping from 1.64m infections at the end of July to 3.62 million at the end of August.

Brazil: Brazil reported 45,961 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 553 deaths caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday. The country is closing in on 4 million cases of Covid-19.

Mexico: Mexico’s health ministry on Monday reported 3,719 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections and 256 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 599,560 cases and 64,414 deaths.

Spain: Spain has registered more than 23,000 new Covid-19 cases since Friday.

France: France’s new Covid-19 infections surged by almost 50% in August, hitting 281,025 cases, versus 187,919 at the end of July.

South Korea: South Korea’s coronavirus cases have remained under 300 for a third day in a row. On Tuesday, the CDC recorded 235 cases, including 222 local infections. It took the total number of cases recorded in the country over the 20,000 mark, to 20,182, since the first infection was reported on 20 January.

Australia: The state of New South Wales has 13 new cases, 11 of which are locally acquired and linked to known clusters, including a cluster in the centre of the city, which now totals 41 cases.

China: China has reported ten new Covid-19 cases, down from 17 reported a day earlier, the country’s health authority said on Tuesday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong begins mass testing for coronavirus this morning, with the assistance of 60 experts from China. The programme aims to “identify asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, and to cut the transmission chain on the community,” the government said in a statement.

New Zealand: New Zealand reports 14 new cases, nine in managed isolation, all related to the Auckland cluster. Yesterday Auckland dropped down from Level 3 to Level 2, despite more cases emerging.

Lockdown updates

Europe: Children across Europe return to school. French pupils go back to school on Tuesday as schools across Europe open their doors to greet returning pupils this month, nearly six months after the coronavirus outbreak forced them to close and despite rising infection rates across the continent.

Hungary: Hungary has decided to let tourists from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, enter the country with a fresh negative coronavirus test, it said late on Monday, just as a lockdown on its borders took effect.

Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping the capital region under loose movement restrictions through September to spur economic activity while battling the region’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

Economic updates

India: India’s economic growth suffered a historic 23.9% contraction in the April-June quarter, as the strict coronavirus lockdown hit businesses.

9:15 am

Coronavirus company news summary – China Daye raises copper production target – QRC launches media campaign – Zimplats reports rise in revenue

September 1

Copper producer China Daye Non-ferrous Metals Mining, which was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year, has raised its production target for the year after posting a net loss during the first half. Located near the initial coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan, the company is expected to ensure 510,000t of copper cathode production this year, up from the 505,000t annual target that was set in March this year. The company was quoted by Reuters as saying in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange: “We will increase daily as well as monthly production to recover the losses [that] resulted from the epidemic.”

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has launched a media campaign in the lead-up to the State Election to emphasise the economic and job creation importance of the mining and gas industry to the State’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the campaign, which will run for four weeks, was launched in response to worsening economic conditions. Queensland’s unemployment rate is Australia’s highest, at 8.8%.

Zimbabwe-based platinum mining company Zimplats has announced that the Covid-19 pandemic did not have any impact on its operations and the company posted a 38% increase in revenue for the full year ending 30 June. The company’s total production of six elements comprising platinum, palladium, rhodium, gold, ruthenium and iridium also increased marginally from 579,591 ounces last year to 580,178 ounces in the full year to June this year. Zimplats was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the mitigation measures implemented in response to the pandemic have so far been successful as no positive cases were recorded among its employees and contractors during the year.

9:01 am

Why Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse

1 September

Professor Steve Hanke, economist at Johns Hopkins University, shared an article on the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

Reuters report that Western diplomats have raised concerns over the country, which has been suffering with inflation at more than 800%.

Nurses have been on strike in the country and several political opponents have been arrested raising concerns over human rights violations and use of authoritarian tactics.

Diplomats note that the pandemic must not be used as an excuse for restricting the freedom of citizens.

Hanke opines that Zimbabwe is on the verge of collapse under these conditions.

Meanwhile, China is the only country projected to growth amid the pandemic in 2020. The country, however, may not be growing through demand but rather through public debt and foreign debt.

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis SV, tweeted on how the weak consumption recovery and high inventory in China do not indicate GDP growth in the country as suggested by headlines.
Read more

2:13 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 25.2 million with more than 6 million in the US – global deaths near 847,000

31 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,249,000, with over 846,000 deaths and 16,634,000 recoveries.

Worldwide, daily confirmed cases continue to increase.

In North America and across the world, the US maintains its place as the most affected country with more than 6 million total confirmed cases, followed by the Latin American and South Asian regions of Brazil and India, respectively.

However, India’s infections will likely surpass Brazil as the country continues to experience a rise in daily confirmed cases, though this is largely due to increases in testing.

Additionally, despite rising infections, India will re-open its train network in the capital city of New Delhi starting 7 September.

This comes after a five-month hiatus, and will be initiated in a phased manner.

While passengers are expected to wear masks, the sheer number of passengers and tight quarters is concerning.

Natasha Karim, MPH, Managing Epidemiologist at GlobalData

2:31 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 infections pass 25.2 million – deaths exceed 846,000 – more than 16 million recoveries

28 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 25,200,000 with over 846,000 deaths and 16,624,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases continues to decline in the US.

Germany has performed more than 987,400 daily tests in the week leading up to 8/26 and reported 19 new cases per million population.

Germany’s positive test rate is approximately 2%.

The US reported over 130 new cases per million population and a positive test rate of 7.8%.

Bahrain and Israel are reporting are reporting the highest new cases per million population in the world with 363 and 250 new cases per million population, respectively.

Collectively the Middle East and Latin America have the most total confirmed cases per million of population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData

11:14 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.47 million – US cases pass 5.8 million – Trump vows to crush Covid

28 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.47 million with more than 832,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization said it would set up a committee to review the rules on declaring an international health emergency, following criticism of its Covid-19 pandemic response.

US: The United States has added 931 new coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total death toll to 180,527. An additional 42,859 new infections brought its overall caseload to 5,860,397.

President Donald Trump has promised to “crush” the coronavirus pandemic with a vaccine by the end of the year, as he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination for a second term.

Latin America: Coronavirus cases have passed the seven-million-mark in Latin America, according to a Reuters tally. The daily average of cases fell to about 77,800 in the last seven days through Wednesday, against almost 85,000 the previous week, the tally based on government figures showed.

Australia: The state of Victoria says it detected 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, a number that remained unchanged from the previous day. Australia has now recorded nearly 25,500 Covid-19 infections nationwide, while the death toll rose to 584 after 12 people died in the state.

India: India has recorded its highest one-day tally of coronavirus cases, with 77,266 new infections recorded. That’s the second highest number of cases ever recorded by a single country in one day.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,571 to 239,507, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

China: China reported nine new Covid-19 cases, all imported. It marked the 12th consecutive day of no local transmissions, according to the National Health Commission.

South Korea: South Korea reported 371 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, including 359 local infections, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is down from the nearly six-month high on Thursday of 441.

Japan: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced his resignation due to ill health, after introducing new measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic, including boosting testing capability to 200,000 tests a day and aiming to secure enough vaccines for all citizens by mid-2021.

Syria: Ramesh Rajasingham, the United Nations’s deputy emergency relief coordinator, says Covid-19 is having a dramatic effect on healthcare services in Syria, where limited testing is obscuring the real extent of the pandemic.

Ireland: Ireland is seeing a “worrying trend” in coronavirus cases, the health ministry warned, as case numbers continue to increase. The country is now seeing about 33 cases per 100,000 people compared to three in June, ministry adviser Philip Nolan told reporters in Dublin, while the number of people being admitted to the hospital is starting to rise.

Spain: Spain reported 3,781 new Covid-19 cases, the most since 23 April. Chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said that only 5% of cases were hospitalized. “It was 55% at the peak of the pandemic,” he said, adding that most of the new cases were in the Madrid area.

Italy: Italy reported 1,411 new cases Thursday, in line with the previous day but still the most since 6 May. A record 94,024 tests were performed as summer vacationers returned from countries, including Spain and Greece.

Lockdown updates

Spain: Spain announced schoolchildren aged six and over must wear masks to class, just days before the start of the new academic year.

9:45 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Freeport-McMoran to ease lockdown at Grasberg mine – Midland Exploration restarts drilling on Maritime-Cadillac

28 August

Anglo American Platinum has donated an ICU with ten beds to Gweru Provincial Hospital located near its Unki Mine in Zimbabwe. The donation of the ICU with newly equipped beds is part of the company’s efforts to limit the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic at the workplace and in host communities. The company donated ventilators, ICU beds, oxygen equipment and installation, personal protective equipment, multi-parameter monitors and other medical equipment. The establishment of the ICU forms part of the mine’s $2m investment till date in Covid-19 measures.

Freeport-McMoran’s Indonesian unit has announced that it would ease a lockdown at its Grasberg gold and copper mine following protests by its workers this week. Operations at Grasberg were disrupted after workers blocked access to the mine in the easternmost region of Papua, demanding transport out of the mine resumes and for a bonus for working during the Covid-19 pandemic. Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said that the company and the local government had agreed to ease curbs to allow workers to leave the mine area and visit the nearby town.

Midland Exploration has restarted the drilling programme on Maritime-Cadillac, after it was suspended due to mandatory confinement measures related to Covid-19. The programme was initially planned in March. The Maritime-Cadillac property located along the Cadillac Break is a joint venture between Agnico Eagle Mines (51%) and Midland (49%). The new drilling programme has been designed to test the down-plunge extension of the Dyke East zone at a vertical depth of 600m and will include a drill hole totalling 850m in length.

Sibanye-Stillwater has reported solid operating results for the first half of this year (H1 2020) despite the challenges and disruptions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic across the globe. Production from all the operating segments increased year-on-year. The operational results underpinned a robust financial performance from the group, along with higher precious metal prices received for the period. Adjusted EBITDA of $990m for the period was 718% higher than for the comparable period last year.

7:49 am

US Federal Reserve looks to inflation to save jobs

28 August

In a historic move, the US Federal Reserve announced a new monetary policy strategy aimed at building a strong labour market and stabilising prices.

The new policy is a shift from the decades long strategy of curbing inflation.

James Picerno, editor at the US Business Cycle Risk Report, shared an article on the Federal Reserve’s new monetary policy strategy.

The new strategy aims to target 2% average inflation, a big departure from the previous policy to curb inflation.

The strategy is aimed at building a strong labour market, which will require a range of policies apart from a supportive monetary policy.

The policy change is still unclear as no guidelines have been provided on how long interest rates will be kept low and how high inflation will be allowed to go.

Investors may need to wait until September when the Federal Reserve issues guidance on interest rates and ensures to keep inflation at a threshold of 2.25% or 2.5%.

Read more

2:05 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 24.2 million – deaths exceed 826,000 – Latin America seeing fastest rise in new cases

27 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 24,203,000 with over 826,400 deaths and 15,825,921 recoveries.

Among the top ten most affected countries, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia are reporting new daily confirmed cases at rate of more than 200 new cases per million population.

The rate for India and the US is about 50 new cases and 130 new cases per million population, respectively.

Spain is the most affected country in Europe.

However, the number of new daily deaths is significantly lower when compared to the first wave.

The UK is considering adding a few more countries to the quarantine list such as the Czech Republic.

Despite the increasing number of new confirmed cases over the past month, the Czech Republic has not placed restrictions like it did during the first wave.

This might be because of public opposition against such restriction levels.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

10:32 am

Coronavirus company news summary – RioZim expects bounce in demand for rough diamonds – Camimex urges government to provide certainty for investors

27 August

Prices of copper have increased on optimism over progress in trade talks between the US and China and signs that researchers might be closer to a treatment for Covid-19. On the London Metal Exchange, three-month copper gained 0.3% to $6,545 a tonne, while the October copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange closed at 0.3% at $7,457.13 a tonne, Reuters reported.

Zimbabwe-based diamond mining company RioZim is expecting pickup in demand, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the company to halt sales in March this year due to slumping gem prices. RioZim spokesperson Wilson Gwatiringa was quoted by Bloomberg as saying through email: “It has in fact picked up with a vengeance in some parts of the world. As a result, we expect an imminent bounce back in the demand for rough diamonds.”

Camimex, the Mexican mining chamber, has requested the government to provide certainty for investors as the sector struggles amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The policy plans announced by President Andrés López Obrador (AMLO) created uncertainty and has negatively impacted investment at a challenging time for the mining industry. The industry is currently adapting to health protocols that are related to the pandemic.

The Polish ministry has delayed its weekly talks with coal mining unions with regard to restructuring of the sector after one of the participants at meeting tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Coal industry in the country is already under pressure from climate campaigners and declining demand, and has been hit hard by the crisis after many miners caught the disease and mining operations were shut. The postponement of the talks increases pressure on PGG, which is expected to struggle to pay salaries in the coming months.

10:08 am

International update: Global Covid-19 infections pass 24.1 million – cases in Europe increasing post lockdown – global deaths near 826,000

27 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 24.1 million with almost 826,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Europe: France and Italy reported post-lockdown daily case highs on Wednesday. France’s 5,429 new cases raised concerns ahead of the new school year starting next week. Italy reported 1,367 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily tally since May when the country was still in lockdown.

The EU’s trade chief, Phil Hogan, stepped down after growing criticism that he broke virus regulations in his native Ireland. Hogan was under pressure over his attendance at a golf dinner last week that violated coronavirus regulations, as well as his behaviour during quarantine upon arrival in his home country.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.8% as compared with the same time Tuesday to 5.8 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase matched the average daily gain over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.8% to 179,150.

Health experts are concerned a sudden US decision to change testing guidance for people who have been exposed to Covid-19 patients but have not developed symptoms risks spreading the virus further. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says so-called “close contacts” of people with Covid-19 do not “necessarily need” to be tested if they do not have symptoms.

China: A World Health Organization team that was meant to investigate the origin of the coronavirus concluded their trip to China without a visit to Wuhan, the Financial Times reported, citing the UN agency.

Greece: Greece reported a record-high 293 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 9280. The number is the highest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The country also recorded five new deaths, bringing the total to 248.

India: India has passed 60,000 deaths from Covid-19, according to the country’s health ministry, and reported its highest daily case rise of more than 75,000. There are growing concerns about the spread of the virus to rural areas.

Germany: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 1,507 to 237,936, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Thursday.

Australia: The number of new infections in the southern state of Victoria appeared to be stabilising. On Thursday, 113 cases were reported – the lowest increase since 5 July, when 74 cases were reported. However, the state reported 23 deaths associated with Covid-19 on Thursday.

New Zealand: New Zealand reported seven new cases, including one imported infection. The six other cases were all linked to the Auckland cluster.

Argentina: Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the South American nation struggled to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza will remain in lockdown at least until Sunday, health officials said on Wednesday, after reporting two deaths and 26 cases in the first public outbreak of coronavirus in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

China: Hong Kong is moving to relax some of its rules on social distancing measures from midnight (16:00 GMT) on Thursday for a period of seven days. The Food and Health Bureau says while sporadic cases and clusters were to be expected and that the government would take a “refined and sophisticated approach” to the relaxation of measures.

Singapore: Singapore will offer Covid-19 tests for travellers to China prior to departure, in an effort to align with new Chinese requirements aimed at stemming the growing number of imported virus cases.

Thailand: The Thai government may allow foreigners who own properties in the country to return as it seeks to gradually ease travel curbs imposed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Economic updates

South Korea: South Korea central bank cut its growth outlook, predicting the world’s 12th-largest economy would shrink more than 1%.

New Zealand: Air New Zealand has posted a net loss of NZD454m ($300m) for the financial year ended June 30. Like many airlines around the world, the closing of borders has led to a collapse in passenger traffic leaving planes on the ground. About one-third of Air New Zealand’s 12,500 employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result.

Japan: Japanese Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said a jump in virus cases from July and heavy rains are dragging on the nation’s economy and he didn’t know yet whether the outbreak has peaked.

7:57 am

Global economy showing signs of recovery but overall decline forecast

27 August

The global economy is gradually showing signs of recovery after a major decline in the first half of the year.

The growth of the economy is expected to continue from the second half of the year, although the labour market will take a long time to recover.

Erik Meyersson, senior economist at Svenska Handelsbanken, a Swedish bank, shared a report on the latest forecast issued by the bank.

The report notes that the global economy is showing signs of recovery after a historic fall in economic activity in the first half.

However, the impact of the pandemic,  has varied across different countries.

While Nordic countries managed to handle the pandemic better, the European Union and the US have been severely impacted.

The report notes that global growth is expected to decline by 4.3% in 2020, followed by a 5.2% growth in 2021 and 3.5% growth in 2022.

New infection rates and lockdown restrictions, however, will play a major role in deciding the growth of the global economy.

Read more

7:13 am

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.9 million – re-infections recorded – fatality rate falling

26 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,930,000 with over 820,000 deaths and 15,606,000 recoveries.

The US, India, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa remain the most affected countries.

The number of new confirmed cases in the US, Russia and South Africa have declined steadily over the past two weeks.

However, South Africa is performing fewer tests and has a higher positive test rates than Russia and the US.

There have been rare cases of re-infection with the virus, two in Europe and one in Hong Kong.

It is too early to make any conclusions on how this would impact the pandemic.

Nevertheless, the fatality rate compared to the beginning of the outbreak has dropped significantly.

This might be because of multiple factors, including higher individual awareness, social distancing, and health services adaptation.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData  

3:00 pm

De Beers to cut diamond prices by 10% to drive up sales amid pandemic

The world’s biggest diamond miner, De Beers, has announced that it will cut prices for its largest diamonds by up to 10% in an attempt to rejuvenate the diamond industry, which has struggled during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The news follows significant declines in the miner’s production and sales over the last year. In the six months to July this year, De Beers produced 11.2 million carats of diamonds, down from 15.5 million carats in the prior six months, while total sales almost halved, from 15.5 carats to 8.5 carats, over the period. In addition, the average price per carat sold fell from $151 to $119, and the miner is continuing to cut prices in an attempt to drive up sales volume.

The one silver lining for the diamond industry has been the price of high quality one-carat diamonds, which has increased by 12% since the start of the year. De Beers may be hoping that a cut in prices could help make other qualities of diamonds more financially attractive.

11:06 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases near 24 million – deaths near 820,000 – more re-infections confirmed

26 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.9 million with almost 820,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Rates of transmission are easing in many parts of the world, the World Health Organisation has suggested. Governments have been ramping up efforts to contain the disease, which has claimed the lives of nearly 820,000 people and infected almost 24 million since late last year.

Europe: Two European patients were confirmed to have been re-infected with coronavirus, raising concerns about immunity. Regional public broadcasters said a patient in the Netherlands and another in Belgium had been re-infected.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased 0.6% to 5.76 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.4% to 177,773.

The number of Americans newly diagnosed with the coronavirus is falling. About 43,000 new cases are being reported daily across the country, down 21% from early August, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Turkey: Turkey recorded its highest number of new coronavirus cases since mid-June. Another 1,502 infections were confirmed on Tuesday, according to government data, taking the official tally over 261,000.

India: India reported the highest number of new coronavirus cases globally for the 18th straight day. Infections rocketed by another 1.5 million since the start of August, taking India’s total to more than 3.2 million.

Mexico: Mexico has confirmed 4,916 new cases of the disease and 650 more deaths, bringing its totals to 568,621 cases and 61,450 deaths.

Myanmar: Myanmar has reported 70 new cases of coronavirus, its biggest daily jump since the pandemic began. The health ministry did not say where the new cases were found.

China: China has reported 15 new cases in the mainland – all of them in people returned from overseas.The mainland has not confirmed a domestically transmitted case in 10 days. It also had 14 new asymptomatic cases, which are not included in confirmed cases. The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

South Korea: South Korea has ordered doctors in Seoul to return to work on Wednesday as they began a three-day strike in protest against several government proposals. South Korea is battling one of its worst outbreaks of the coronavirus, with 320 new cases reported in the 24 hours to midnight Tuesday.

North Korea: Kim Jong Un has told North Korea to step up prevention efforts against the coronavirus. The country has not reported any confirmed cases of the virus, but imposed a strict lockdown in the city of Kaesong after a man there showed symptoms of the disease. Later tests were inconclusive, according to the WHO.

Australia: The southern state of Victoria has reported its second deadliest day of the pandemic with 24 deaths and 149 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours. Melbourne, the state’s capital and the second-biggest city in Australia, is midway through a six-week lockdown and curfew as it battles a resurgence of the disease.

Argentina: Argentina reported 8,771 new confirmed Covid-19 cases for a national total of 359,638, according to the government, the second straight record daily tally. The government reported 162 deaths, for a total of 7,563.

Lockdown updates

Gaza: Gaza entered a 48-hour lockdown after the first cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the general population. Four cases of coronavirus were confirmed in a single family in a refugee camp, the first in Gaza that did not involve people quarantined in border facilities after crossing over from Egypt and Israel.

Singapore: Singapore will tighten border measures for travellers arriving from South Korea after a resurgence of virus cases there. Those who have travelled to or transited in South Korea within the past two weeks will be required to serve a 14-day quarantine at government-run facilities when they enter Singapore, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Japan: Japan is considering how to make social-distancing rules more binding as it confronts a wave of coronavirus cases larger than the one that prompted a state of emergency in April-May, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said. Future emergency declarations could be targeted to specific areas or industries, said Nishimura, who heads the country’s virus response.

Hawaii: Hawaii’s most populous island is returning to a stay-at-home order while officials conduct 70,000 Covid-19 tests in the next two weeks. The federal government will help officials test 5,000 people in Oahu every day for two weeks, the Associated Press reported.

UK: Pupils in England will no longer be advised against using face masks in schools after prime minister Boris Johnson made an 11th-hour U-turn days before students head back to the classroom.

Economic updates

Australia: Australia will boost defence spending by A$1 billion ($716.80 million) in the government’s latest attempt to help the country’s coronavirus-hit economy. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the money will be used to upgrade military facilities and offer additional paid employment to some 27,000 reservists.

9:36 am

Coronavirus company news summary – Grasberg workers extend protests on lockdown – India to reduce thermal coal imports

News Round-Up: Mining Technology –26-August-2020

More than 1,000 mine workers at Grasberg gold and copper mine operated by Freeport-McMoRan’s local unit have extended a protest into a second day, demanding an easing of a lockdown related to the Covid-19 pandemic. They also blocked access to the mine located in the easternmost region of Papua. Workers’ representative Yonpis Tabuni said that their demand is not met yet and there is a meeting with the local government and the management. Freeport’s spokesman Riza Pratama said that the company will continue to monitor and conduct negotiations.

The Mining Chamber of Mexico (Camimex) said that mining industry in the country expects a fall in exploration investments this year to their worst level in 14 years, even before taking Covid-19 into account. This year, spending is expected to decline to $399m due to a drop in investor confidence. Camimex president Fernando Alanis said the estimate for this year would continue a trend over the last few years of weakening investment in the mining sector.

Whitehaven Coal has posted a net profit of $30m for 2019-20, which represents a 95% plunge compared with the previous financial year as the pandemic hammers prices of coal. Import restrictions that were imposed by the Chinese government and the lockdown of Indian and north Asian economies led to a fall in demand and caused prices of thermal coal to plummet. Whitehaven Coal chief executive Paul Flynn said that the company’s headline financial results were impacted by significant contraction in coal prices.

India is set to reduce its thermal coal imports in the next few years in order to save foreign exchange and create jobs by developing existing as well as new coal blocks. This year, the country’s thermal coal demand declined due to the economic contraction triggered by Covid-19 lockdowns to minimise the spread of the virus. Joint secretary in the coal ministry Nagaraju said that the future of coal is not as bright as it used to be in past and it continues to be an important player in the energy mix of the country for at least next three decades.

7:42 am

Permanent job losses in US could reach 8.7 million – how financial repression and inflation can ease UK public debt

26 August

The effects of Covid-19 pandemic have been multi-fold from shutting down businesses, causing widespread unemployment to a global healthcare crisis.

Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, shared an article on how the Covid-19 induced recession is leading to permanent job losses in the US similar to the Great Recession.

The rise in unemployment rate during March and April was considered to be temporary.

However, in July, approximately 33% of employees who were furloughed were permanently laid off, according to data from Gusto, a payroll and benefits company.

A total of 3.7 million people were unemployed in July, according to official figures from the Labour department.

By the end of the year, the figure is expected to rise to between 6.2 million and 8.7 million, which is close to the 8.6 million unemployed during the Great Recession.

Long-term unemployment may lead to slow economic recovery and have the most impact on the minority communities of the society.

Meanwhile, George Magnus, a macroeconomist, shared an article on the expected rise in inflation in the UK.

Magnus argues that a combination of financial repression and inflation may be the best way to address public debt.

Read more

2:15 pm

GlobalData Epidemiologist Report: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths – infections slowing in US

25 August

Globally, the total confirmed cases of Covid-19 have reached over 23,679,000 with over 813,000 deaths and 15,359,000 recoveries.

The number of new daily confirmed cases are declining in the US.

Among European countries, Spain, France, and Germany are reporting the highest new confirmed cases.

Yesterday, Spain reported over 19,000 new cases.

In the UK, it appears the country has controlled the local outbreaks as the numbers are declining nationally.

India reports over 25% of the global new cases.

The country is now performing more daily tests than the US.

The fatality rate in India is half of the global average, possibly because of the country’s young population.

Bahram Hassanpourfard, MPH, Epidemiologist at GlobalData 

10:24 am

International update: Global Covid-19 cases pass 23.6 million – first documented human re-infection confirmed

25 August

Global: Global Covid-19 infections have passed 23.6 million with more than 813,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Cancer patients are at high risk of severe disease if they contract Covid-19, and those with blood diseases are in the most danger, researchers said. People with leukaemia and other blood cancers who contract the coronavirus face as much as 57% higher odds of severe disease compared to those with breast cancer, according to a study published Monday in The Lancet Oncology journal.

China: A Hong Kong man has been re-infected with Covid-19 after four-and-a-half months, leading to immunity concerns. A Hong Kong man who recovered from Covid-19 was infected again four-and-a-half months later in the first documented instance of human re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said on Monday.

US: Coronavirus cases in the US increased by 0.6% as compared with the same time Sunday to 5.72 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The increase was lower than the average daily gain of 0.8% over the past week. Deaths rose by 0.2% to 176,991.

Gaza: Gaza reported its first Covid-19 cases outside quarantine areas and declared lockdown. The first cases of coronavirus have been detected outside of quarantine facilities within the Gaza Strip, a potentially disastrous development given the enclave’s fragile health system.

Sweden: Sweden is likely to see local outbreaks but no big second wave of Covid-19 cases in the autumn, such as inundated hospitals a few months ago, Sweden’s top epidemiologist and architect of its unorthodox pandemic strategy said.

Pakistan: latest figures from Pakistan show the country has 8,934 active cases of coronavirus – the lowest since April 24, according to our correspondent Asad Hashim. Pakistan recorded an additional 450 cases on Monday and 11 deaths.

Australia: The state of Victoria has confirmed 148 new cases of coronavirus and eight deaths in the past 24 hours. The state’s capital, Melbourne, is slightly more than halfway through a six-week lockdown imposed as a second wave of cases emerged in the state.

Germany: New coronavirus cases increased at a pace close to Saturday’s four-month high, while the infection rate fell below a key benchmark of 1.0. There were 1,628 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, taking the total to 236,122.

Singapore: Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority ordered a stop to activities at some construction worksites after a new Covid-19 cluster was found at the country’s largest foreign worker dormitory, raising concerns of a resurgence in virus infections.

Vaccine news

US: Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, warned that distributing a Covid-19 vaccine under special emergency use guidelines before it has been proved safe and effective in large trials is a bad idea that could have a chilling effect on the testing of other vaccines.

Dr Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the agency will not be influenced by political pressure when it comes to approving a vaccine for Covid-19. Hahn said the FDA’s decision to issue an emergency authorisation for blood plasma treatment for coronavirus at the weekend was not political.

Mexico: Four different coronavirus vaccine initiatives will receive financial support from the Mexican Government, the Foreign Ministry said in a presentation. A total of 19 projects including those focused on Covid-19 treatments will receive financing via a fund with resources from the Mexican International Development and Cooperation Agency, foreign entities and private foundations, the Foreign Ministry said in a separate statement.

Lockdown updates

Global: The United Nations said the threat from ISIL (ISIS) has been reduced by the coronavirus lockdowns imposed in many countries. “Measures to minimise the spread of Covid-19, such as lockdowns and restrictions on movement, seem to have reduced the risk of terrorist attacks in many countries,” said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for counter-terrorism.

South Korea: South Korea on Tuesday ordered most schools in Seoul and surrounding areas to close and move classes back online, the latest in a series of precautionary measures aimed at heading off a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Reuters reports.

Colombia: Colombia will start a new phase of the pandemic in which mandatory lockdowns end and authorities instead impose “selective lockdowns” with fewer restrictions to individual mobility, President Ivan Duque said on state TV.

Economic updates

Australia: Qantas Airways Ltd. plans to cut as many as 2,500 more jobs by offloading ground operations such as baggage handling and aircraft cleaning as the cost of the coronavirus pandemic mounts.

Philippines: The Philippines’ House of Representatives on Monday approved the final version of a 165.5 billion-peso ($3.4 billion) pandemic relief bill that would provide subsidies to the unemployed, assistance to businesses and loan repayment extension to borrowers.

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Coronavirus company news summary – Perenti posts increase in revenue in FY 2020 – De Beers reduces price of diamonds

25 August

Operations at San Cristóbal’s mine in Bolivia have been suspended for a second time due to the Covid-19 outbreak. San Cristóbal had earlier suspended operations in March and then resumed production in May, reported Reuters. San Cristóbal is a fully owned subsidiary of Japan-based Sumitomo Corp. The mine is the largest in Bolivia and features a huge deposit of zinc, lead and silver. The firm conducted medical checks on 8,093 workers and contractors and identified 168 suspected cases, out of which 41 have been confirmed positive.

Over a thousand mine workers in Indonesia stopped access to the Grasberg gold and copper mine to mark a protest against the coronavirus lockdown policy that stopped staff bus services to meet with families, reported Reuters. Grasberg is the largest gold mine and second largest copper mine in the world and is operated by Freeport-McMoRan’s local business unit. Presently, the mine is transitioning from its open pit operation to underground mining. This year, the mine is expected to have a daily production of 110,000 tonnes of copper ore.

Perenti, an Australia-based mining services group, has posted a record of $2.04bn revenue in its full-year financial report for 2020, which is an increase of 3.8% against 2019’s result. The firm also reported 6.8% year-on-year increase in underlying earnings before tax interest depreciation and amortisation of $443.8m in 2020. The Perth-based firm also bolstered its liquidity position, which currently sits at $600m in cash and undrawn credit. The firm expects that the increase in liquidity will help it to ease out challenges in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Anglo American unit, De Beers has decided to reduce the price of its diamonds as Covid-19 pandemic has weakened the industry. De Beers and its Russian competitor Alrosa had earlier attempted to defend the value of the gems as the Covid-19 paralysed the industry. With the closure of jewellery stores, cutters and polishers restricted to their homes, the diamond industry has come to a standstill. In the second quarter of 2020, De Beers and Alrosa sold a total of $130m in rough diamonds, which is a huge decline from $2.1bn recorded a year before.