Coronavirus company news summary – Alrosa warns of lower production – Wesdome reduces operations – Freeport braces for layoffs

6 May 2020 (Last Updated May 6th, 2020 09:21)

6 May

Russian diamond producer Alrosa has warned of a change in its production plans for this year as the company prepares to suspend two mining projects from 15 May due to the drop in demand and sales that the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to cause. It plans to halt the Aikhal underground mine and the Zarya open pit mine, which together produced 2.6 million carats of rough diamonds last year. Production at these projects is expected to resume as the market improves.

Wesdome has reported that its Eagle River mine has reduced operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, because of accelerated mining of the stockpile, the company expects slightly lower production in the second quarter, but is maintaining annual guidance of 90,000 – 100,000 ounces and operating cost guidance of $800 – $875. The company said it is unlikely to drill its planned 237,000 metres this year as a result of the uncertainty related to the virus.

Freeport is planning to lay off 825 workers at New Mexico’s Chino mine, which was temporarily closed last month after three workers tested positive for Covid-19. Reuters reported that the mine may now be permanently shuttered. Freeport spokeswoman Linda Hayes said in an emailed statement that the company is assessing future plans for Chino in conjunction with broad ranging cost reductions across the organisation.

Belgium has eased a two-month nationwide coronavirus lockdown, thereby reopening of world’s largest diamond hub, Square Mile in Antwerp. Belgian Diamond Industry Syndicate executive director Melissa Smet said that 90% of the diamond cutting businesses in the diamond district had closed due to emergency restrictions that were imposed on 18 March in the country. Diamond shipments to Antwerp also declined to as little as 26 shipments a day.