Coronavirus company news summary – Codelco records total 3,215 cases – B2Gold provides update – Namibia mining sector sees job cuts

14 July 2020 (Last Updated July 14th, 2020 09:23)

14 July

Chilean copper producer Codelco has registered a total 3,215 positive Covid-19 cases and nine fatalities at its operations amid ongoing pressures on the nation’s copper industry. Board chairman Juan Benavides said that 2,473 workers have already recovered and another 37 remain hospitalised. Copper mining companies in the country have largely maintained output despite the rise in Covid-19 cases in the country. Companies are required to strengthen safety measures, even potentially at the expense of production. Codelco unions said that last week about 3,000 workers had been infected.

B2Gold has reported that the Masbate Mine in the Philippines continued to perform well through the second quarter of this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The company noted that the mine produced 48,654 ounces of gold, approximately in-line with budget, despite being limited by a reduced workforce due to restrictions related to the virus. Gold production for last year was lower by 15% compared to the second quarter, as planned. This was primarily due to lower than budgeted grade.

Whitehaven has reported that the company’s performance for the year was strong and it could achieve ROM and managed sales guidance despite Covid-19, drought and bushfires. To date, no positive Covid-19 cases have been confirmed at any of the company sites and operations remained largely unaffected, aside from distancing and hygiene measures. This quarter the company achieved ROM coal production of 8.2Mt, representing a 17% rise on the corresponding period last year. Managed saleable coal production for the quarter stood at 6.2Mt, up 29% compared to the same period last year.

The Namibian mining sector is said to have lost about 285 jobs as a result of the lockdown imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) general secretary Ebben Zarondo was quoted as saying that the figures on jobs lost begin on 15 March this year. Job losses were recorded at 17 companies in the industry. The highest job losses at 71 were reported at Namib Lead and Zinc, followed by D.Y.S Manufacturers with 52. Lewcor and Kaokoland Mining also lost 25 and 24 jobs, respectively.