Coronavirus company news summary – Kazatomprom to flex down uranium mines – South32 reports fall in full-year underlying profit – UNDP announces grants for miners

20 August 2020 (Last Updated August 20th, 2020 09:26)

20 August

Kazatomprom is set to starting working with joint venture partners to implement the plan to continue flexing down production by 20% through 2022 across all of its uranium mines in Kazakhstan amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan will ensure its mining subsidiaries and joint ventures will be able to incorporate the required changes into their capital expenditure budgets for next year, accounting for the revised production levels in 2022. As part of the measures taken to combat the pandemic, Kazatomprom is also maintaining its 20% reduction against subsoil use contracts next year and has no additional production plans to replace volumes lost this year.

Australia-based mining company South32 has posted an 80.5% fall in full-year underlying profit on low prices for its key commodities. The company also made a decision to delay a share buyback decision to September next year over uncertainty in growth across the globe due to Covid-19. Due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, prices of the company’s top three commodities, metallurgical coal, aluminium and manganese remained weak. For the year ended 30 June, the company’s underlying net profit declined to $193m compared with $992m a year ago.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) minerals programme country coordinator Ruth Clarke has announced that 12 mining and quarry operators were awarded grants totalling about $9m. Awarded under phase two of the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) Minerals Development Programme, these funds will assist the beneficiary individuals and entities in implementing activities to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on their operations. Phase two of the programme, which is being funded by the EU, is co-implemented by the UNDP, along with the Mines and Geology Department in the Ministry of Transport and Mining.

Hochschild Mining is witnessing a gloomy outlook due to slow recovery in production as well as increased costs at its gold and silver mines in Peru because of shutdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic. News of continued issues at its mines in the country and Argentina have drilled the share prices of Hochschild lower.

China’s National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration is reportedly planning to purchase 2,000t of cobalt after the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the supply risks. Bloomberg quoted two people with knowledge of the matter as saying that the stockpiling agency could put its plan to buy the strategic mineral into action by this year-end. They further added that the latest decision is in line with the country’s future economic and strategic needs.