Coronavirus company news summary – MIT supports small-scale miners – Freeport-McMoRan to reduce Indonesian operations – Miners cut 2020 capex

19 May 2020 (Last Updated May 19th, 2020 09:27)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s D-Lab has partnered with artisanal and small-scale gold miners in Colombia as part of a programme to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the community. D-Lab and partners will also deliver virtual trainings on making masks and hand sanitisers. With the onset of Covid-19, the market for gold has ground to a halt and small mining communities have few defences against the novel coronavirus. More than 12,000 cases have been recorded in Colombia.

The Indonesian subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan has announced plans to cut the workforce at its Grasberg mine following an increase in coronavirus infections in the area, including at the mine workers’ living quarters. Three deaths have also been reported. The move is aimed at ensuring workers at the mine can comply with physical distancing measures, while avoiding any further spread of the virus. A total of 17,514 have been infected with Covid-19 in Indonesia and 1,148 have died.

Metals mining company Hochschild Mining has restarted production at its Inmaculada and Pallancata mines located in Peru. The company plans to reissue its full-year forecast after achieving full production and clearance of the overall impact of the output suspensions due to Covid-19-related restrictions. Hochschild operates two mines in southern Peru and one in Argentina and is targeting full output from these locations in the coming weeks. Last month, it withdrew its 2020 forecast citing uncertainties related to the coronavirus crisis.

Mining companies across the globe have been forced to cut their 2020 capital expenditure by about 19%, and copper production outlook by 8%, data compiled by Reuters revealed. Due to the spread of the virus, demand for metals has been hit and several countries were forced to suspend large parts of their economies to contain the outbreak.