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September 9, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Lucapa to restart Mothae diamond mine – Major Drilling’s Canada and US operations see Q1 decline – WPIC reports strenghtened investment demand for platinum

By Matthew Hall

9 September

Lucapa Diamond Company along with its partner, the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, has announced plans to restart diamond mining operations at the Mothae restrictions. Isolation measures have forced the company to suspend operations at the mine in March this year. A mine restart plan approved by the government, Lucapa and the Mothae Board of Directors will see the mine return to operations in the fourth quarter of this year with the implementation of further health and safety protocols.

Major Drilling Group International has reported that the company’s revenue for the first quarter that ended 31 July 2020 from Canada and US drilling operations has declined by 24.6% compared to the same period last year to $46m, as the region witnessed continued shutdowns during the quarter due to government and customer imposed restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. By the end of the quarter, operations had resumed on various projects under improved safety protocols. South and Central American revenue also fell by 40.4% to $19.5m for the quarter.

Trigon Metals has delayed the investment and financing process with Shandong Xinhai Mining Technology & Equipment beyond its original timing expectations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Trigon has been in ongoing discussions with Xinhai regarding the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the parties in March last year. Pursuant to the MoU, Xinhai expressed the intention to invest in Trigon by part of the EPC contract amount in exchange for the right to be appointed as the EPC contractor for open pit mining operations at the Kombat mine. Xinhai has now agreed to halt its processes to align with Trigon’s strategy to potentially develop a larger operation.

The latest edition of Platinum Quarterly released by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC) has revealed that while the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted the economy worldwide, investment demand for platinum strengthened in the second quarter of this year. This comes as the combination of increased global risk and monetary and fiscal policy responses to the crisis boosted the appeal of precious metals, including platinum. WPIC reported a revised 2020 forecast that has moved the platinum market into an annual deficit of -336 koz compared to the prior estimate of a +247 koz surplus.

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