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April 20, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – BHP reduces workforce – Newmont mulls mine restarts – India expects slump in steel demand

By Matthew Hall

20 April

BHP has reduced the number of employees in its operations from the existing 7,310 to 4,910 and reduced contractor workers from 21,911 to 11,289 due to the Covid-19 health emergency. The company has also decided to voluntarily undertake a major portion of the cost of contractor companies to maintain the remuneration of its demobilised workers and their respective jobs.

Newmont chief executive Tom Palmer said that the company is planning to restart some of the gold mines in Canada and South America that were closed last month to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision comes as Buenos Aires and Quebec City authorities have lifted restrictions around mining which is now deemed as an essential service.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Mines Minister Willy Kitobo Samsoni has reported a 15% slump in cobalt exports during the first quarter and warned that mine closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic would trigger a “catastrophic” economic and social crisis in the country.

The Indian Steel Association (ISA) has reported that steel demand in the country is expected to fall to multi-year lows this year due to a protracted lockdown until 3 May to curb the spread of Covid-19. Reuters quoted the association as saying that demand is set to contract by 7.7% with “significant downside risks.”

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