Coronavirus company news summary – Codelco unions express infection concerns – Roxgold Q2 update – BHP offers early retirement amid Covid-19

9 July 2020 (Last Updated July 9th, 2020 09:26)

9 July

Unions representing Codelco workers have said that nearly 3,000 workers have been infected with Covid-19 and urged for more safety measures at the company’s operations. Federation of Copper Workers (FTC) president Patricio Elgueta told Reuters that as of 5 July, it had tallied 2,843 infections of the virus among workers. He further added that they have to recount on a daily basis to see the way infections are progressing as Codelco does not give the database to the workers. Some unions and social groups are urging the company and others to stop operations around the mining hub of Calama.

Roxgold has reported that its Yaramoko Mine Complex located in Burkina Faso was able to maintain the upper end of annual gold production guidance – 120,000 to 130,000 – ounces amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The company president and CEO John Dorward said that in the first half of this year, its operations have continued to operate well due to the foresight and rapid response of its regional teams to manage and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on its employees, contractors, and communities. The Yaramoko complex produced 32,812 ounces, based on processing 127,309t at an average grade of 8.2g per tonne and average mill recoveries of 98%.

Trilogy Metals has confirmed that through Ambler Metals, the company and its joint venture partner South32 have decided not to proceed with the 2020 field programmes at the Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects (UKMP) in Northwest Alaska after assessing the current Covid-19 pandemic. Given the continued uncertainty resulting from the pandemic, ongoing safety concerns, and the fact that the planned field season had already been delayed due to Covid-19. Ambler Metals had budgeted $22.8m for the 2020 programme.

BHP’s Escondida copper mine in Chile has offered an early retirement package for some workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Reuters quoted Escondida as saying that the offer would provide an improved package of retirement benefits to workers who met its requirements. BHP’s workers union said that the company is trying to relieve itself of the burden of holding the jobs of the sick and elderly and the union would closely monitor the plans to ensure they were not used as a pretext to remove workers during the pandemic.