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April 21, 2020

Covid-19: Mining technology daily update – coal production to grow – platinum and diamond production to fall

By Paul Dennis

21 April

Global coal production to grow by 0.5% as production in India continues amid Covid-19 lockdown
Across the globe, coal production is expected to be only marginally affected by Covid-19 compared with other commodities, as thermal coal mines are permitted to operate during lockdowns as they are deemed essential due to the need to maintain power supplies. In India, for example, around 845Mt of coal is expected to be produced in 2020, an 8.3% increase compared with 2019.

Impact of Covid-19 on the diamond market – sales down and production forecast to fall
In early March, De Beers, the world’s second-largest producer, reported a 28% year-on-year decline in sales, at $355m down from $496m in 2019, during its second sales cycle of 2020 as Covid-19 impacted the Chinese market. This compared with $551 in the first sales cycle of 2020, with 12 sales cycles in a year.

South African Covid-19 lockdown a dent to global platinum production
The 21-day lockdown across South Africa’s mining sector will particularly impact the global supply of platinum and other PGMs. However, with declining demand from the autocatalyst and jewellery sectors, platinum prices remain under pressure.

Covid-19 threatens 2020 mining capex growth

At the start of the year, 2020 looked to be a promising for capital expenditure with the top 20 miners, for example, collectively expecting capex growth of 11%. However, Covid-19 has brought new challenges which could restrict this, with project work delayed and investments put on hold.

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