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October 27, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – MMG reduces 2020 guidance for Las Bambas – Orocobre suspends Olaroz operations – Decline in India steel production

By Matthew Hall

27 October

Operations at the Olaroz lithium mine operated by lithium mining company Orocobre were shut down temporarily after employees working at the site tested positive for Covid-19. Orocobre reported that 35 workers at the facility tested positive and the virus was spread from a single employee who initially tested negative. The operations at the Olaroz mine are expected to restart this week.

The deliveries from Las Bambas copper mine operated by MMG have returned to normal after the site was previously disrupted due to a road blockade by local communities. The mine faced similar disruption before the coronavirus related lockdown restrictions halted production. MMG has cut output guidance for the mine for 2020 by more than 10% from 350,000t-370,000t to 305,000t-315,000t.

The World Steel Association said that crude steel output in India fell by 2.9% to 8.52Mt in September, compared to the same period in 2019. China recorded a 10.09% y-o-y increase in production last month at 92.5Mt. The previous month’s steel production in the US and Japan also diminished by 18.5% and 19.3% respectively. The organisation said that the September figures are rough estimates and the exact production numbers could be revised in next month’s update.

The price of zinc reached $2,596.50 per tonne at the London Metal Exchange (LME) last week, demonstrating strong performance since May 2019. The price of lead, on the other hand, plunged during the same period. The Covid-19 lockdown has impacted the demand and supply of both the metals. Demand for zinc dropped by 5.3% in 2020, while lead demand contracted by 6.5%, according to International Lead and Zinc Study Group.

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