Coronavirus company news summary – Antofagasta reports Q2 production – B2Gold provides virus funding in Namibia – Concerns over escalating infections in South Africa

23 July 2020 (Last Updated July 23rd, 2020 09:24)

23 July

Chilean mining company Antofagasta delivered copper volumes in the second quarter of this year that were 5% ahead of expectations, but 8.4% lower compared to the previous period owing to disruptions due to the Covid-19 crisis. During the quarter, production stood at 177,700t of copper, primarily due to lower grades from the Centinela mine. Antofagasta CEO Iván Arriagada said that the full impact of the pandemic has been felt across Chile and company’s focus during the quarter has been on the health and safety of its employees and contractors.

Rare earths producer Lynas has reported that the company’s production in the fourth quarter nearly halved, hit by halts at its Malaysian processing plant and flagship mine in Australia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After a two-month hiatus, the company restarted production at its Mt Weld mine located in Western Australia in mid-June, while it reopened the Malaysian plant in early May. Lynas said that the Malaysian plant was operating at only 75% capacity despite the restart, and production at Mt Weld was aligned to the rates in the country.

B2Gold has provided funds to assist the Namibian government’s Covid-19 relief programme. The $2m funding will be used to buy personal protection equipment, food relief packages and hospital equipment including ventilators to assist healthcare and frontline workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. B2Gold president and CEO Clive Johnson said the company’s contribution demonstrates its commitment to improve the livelihoods of all Namibians. Additionally, it has made other key contributions this year towards improving livelihoods in Namibia, in line with its corporate social responsibility strategy.

Gold mines in South Africa are finding it difficult to boost production following the Covid-19 lockdown that closed mine operations. Covid-19 infections in the country increased above 370,000 this week, making it the fifth-worst affected country globally, Bloomberg reported. As prices of gold are increasing on the heels of monetary stimulus, shares in the metal producers are back in favour across the globe. But due to rising Covid-19 infections, investors are worried about supply disruptions at South Africa’s mines, according to Benguela Global Fund Managers.