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August 21, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Gold Fields reports rise in half-year earnings – Antofagasta restarts growth projects – South32 prepares for extended wave of market volatility

By Matthew Hall

21 August

South Africa-based mining company Gold Fields has reported an increase in half-year earnings due to a rise in the gold price above $2,000, owing to disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The company CEO Nick Holland, who will step down in September next year, said that a bittersweet respite for gold companies has led to the increase in this safe haven metal to record levels.

Chilean mining firm Antofagasta has restarted growth projects, even after weak copper prices drove down its earnings by 22% during the first half of this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company’s mines have operated with about two-thirds of their usual workforce on site. Pandemic-related disruptions to mining operations in Chile have been minimal, but have led to the delay of some mining projects. A six-month delay to Antofagasta’s flagship Los Pelambres mine had cost it $50m.

South32 said it is prepared for an extended wave of market volatility as well as lower commodity prices after a strong performance in the financial year. During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the company resisted major impacts and also introduced cost savings across its mines. Furthermore, it registered record annual production results at three of its operations.

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