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April 23, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Orocobre reports drop in lithium production – Gemfields suspends operations at Montepuez – Antofagasta copper production still on track

By Matthew Hall

23 April

The Zambia Chamber of Mines has urged the government to address the issues faced by mining companies amid the Covid-19 pandemic by engaging with the sector. In a statement, the chamber submitted a three-phase economic plan to the government to manage the economic impact arising from the coronavirus. It is seeking immediate relief measures that could be followed by an emergency support package.

Antofagasta has announced that it expects Covid-19 restrictions to only put a slight dent in copper production for this year as around two-thirds of its workforce is currently operating on-site at its mining operations in Chile. The company is implementing social distancing and other precautionary health measures and anticipates production down at the lower end of its original 725,000-755,000t guidance.

Australian mining company Orocobre has reported an 11% drop in quarterly production from its Olaroz lithium project in Argentina following shutdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the March quarter, production from the facility stood at 2,732t compared to 3,075t a year earlier, as the company lost 21 days of production due to shutdowns.

Gemfields Group has suspended all but critical operations at the Montepuez Ruby Mine in Mozambique as of 22 April in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company will continue security, maintenance and other essential services to make sure that the mine is positioned well to restart operations once it is safe to do so.

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