Covid-19: Glencore closes some operations over coronavirus fears

27 March 2020 (Last Updated March 27th, 2020 15:24)

Glencore has halted a number of smaller mines in four countries due to government restrictions to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Covid-19: Glencore closes some operations over coronavirus fears
Glencore’s Raglan mine in Canada will be on care and maintenance for the next three weeks. Credit: Glencore.

Glencore has halted operations at a number of its mines in four countries due to government restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Glencore noted that it has shut down some of its coal and ferroalloys operations in South Africa and Colombia, as well as nickel and zinc mines in Canada, and also oil operations in Chad.

The company noted that its larger operations have not been materially impacted due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

However, a number of its smaller assets have had to restrict or stop operations, due to measures implemented by the respective governments to contain the spread of the virus.

Glencore noted that its Raglan and Matagami operations in Quebec will be on care and maintenance for the next three weeks.

According to Reuters, Glencore joins other mining giants such as Anglo American, Antofagasta, Codelco and Teck Resources in temporarily halting or slowing some operations, thereby adversely affecting supply of commodities at global level.

In order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, governments in South Africa and Colombia have installed nation-wide quarantines this week which is expected to run until the mid of next month, while the Government of Quebec has ordered to close all non-essential businesses.

In a press statement, Glencore said: “We have introduced a number of precautionary measures across our offices and industrial assets in response to Covid-19.

“This includes the implementation of enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures, application of social distancing and identification of higher risk groups. Our goal is to operate only when we can keep our people safe and healthy, while safeguarding jobs and providing support to our local communities.”

Last month, Glencore predicted a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035 as its coal resources deplete over time, but the company refused to set itself climate targets.

In the same month, the company signed a five-year cobalt supply agreement with South Korean battery manufacturer Samsung SDI.