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

11 November 2020 (Last Updated November 11th, 2020 09:33)

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.