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April 29, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – OceanaGold resumes operations – Nickel miners in the Phillipines prepare for restart – South Africa companies cooperate

By Matthew Hall

29 April

Mining companies in South Africa are establishing shared quarantine facilities for workers testing positive for Covid-19. Reuters reported that they are also discussing alternative ways to cooperate on responding to the pandemic, as the industry gradually restarts operations that have been halted since late March. Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa agreed to partially ease the lockdown across the country. Originally, South Africa’s lockdown temporarily closed all mines, except for some essential coal production facilities.

OceanaGold has resumed the development of the Martha Underground Project at Waihi, New Zealand along with regional exploration activities. The company has also restarted mining and processing activities at Macraes under strict operating practices. The move comes after the New Zealand government decreased the country’s Covid-19 alert level and extended provisions for businesses to operate.

Mongolia has reportedly scrapped near-term initial public offering (IPO) plans for state-owned coal mining company Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi as the coronavirus pandemic weakens financial markets. In October last year, Bloomberg News reported that the company was working with an adviser to prepare for a planned Hong Kong IPO that could raise more than $1bn.

Nickel miners in the Philippines, Nickel Asia and Global Ferronickel, are preparing to resume operations in Surigao del Norte in the southern Caraga region, following shutdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Restrictions in the ore-producing region are expected to be eased after 30 April.

Mine workers across the globe are not willing to get back to their work without sufficient protective gear and knowledge about Covid-19 cases at sites. Reuters quoted South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) lawyer Richard Spoor as saying that reopening the mines without proper regulation in place is a bad idea for workers and for the communities that they come from.

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