South Africa’s Anglo American Platinum has announced that it expects to bring its mining production back up to 75% to 80% of capacity by the end of this year as mines in the country recover from a forced shutdown related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company CEO Natascha Viljoen was quoted by Reuters as saying that the production lost during early lockdown, when most mines in the country closed, would probably not be recovered. Viljoen added that the mines are expected to have an infection rate of between 7% and 10% with Covid-19 screening procedures in place.
Mining companies in Peru are restarting operations that were halted by measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, with mass testing, isolation periods and revamped shift patterns now implemented. This development is said to be key to the country’s economic engine and metals output devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic. But concerns have been raised by unions for mine workers that some planned shifts are too long and urged for strengthening of testing and protective measures. At least 41 large Peruvian firms have implemented government-mandated hygiene protocols as they aim to reach full production capacity during the third quarter.
Poland-based coking coal producer JSW has launched a campaign to defend miners who have faced public abuse and unfair blame on social media over a rise in Covid-19 infections in the country. Health Ministry figures show an increase in infections among miners disproportionately, accounting for about half of the daily rise in cases in recent weeks. Miners account for almost 20% of the country’s total reported cases of the virus. According to JSW spokesman, the campaign is aimed at defending the mineworkers and their families, as well as local communities.
Mining companies in Zambia have witnessed a 30% drop in revenue over the three months from February to April this year, illustrating the deep impact of Covid-19 on mining finances, according to the country’s Chamber of Mines. Severe global restrictions on movement have hit mining supply chains and hindered the export and sale of copper. Secondly, during the crisis, the copper price collapsed, and though it has since strengthened, is still down by around 12% over the period when compared to last year. Despite maintaining production, Zambian mining companies have struggled to export and sell their copper.