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June 8, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Poland records outbreak among miners – Iron price set to surge – Vale closes operation amid outbreak

By Matthew Hall

8 June

Poland has recorded a total of 1,151 new Covid-19 infections over the weekend, according to the Polish health ministry and reported by BBC. An outbreak among miners and their families at the coal mine located in southern Poland accounted for two-thirds of the figure. Upper Silesia has more than 12 active mines where workers operate in humid conditions at close proximity to one another. A strict lockdown was introduced in Poland in March, which has avoided the comparatively large number of deaths seen in Western Europe.

China-based Zijin Mining Group is set to acquire a 50.1% stake in Tibet Julong Copper for $548m. Tibet Julong operates the Qulong copper mine and the Zhibula mine. Zijin’s latest move to acquire a large domestic mine comes as copper smelters fret over raw material supply due to mine closures globally owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s commercial iron ore producer NMDC and other companies are set to benefit from a surge in seaborne iron ore prices across the globe. Business Standard reported that the rally stems primarily from the supply crunch in Brazil, which is still struggling with a rise in Covid-19 cases. Iron ore prices globally are now trending more than $100 per tonne. Due to the revival of steel production in China, demand for the ingredient has increased and simultaneously, disruptions in Brazil after soaring cases of the pandemic has limited supply, thereby increasing prices.

Iron ore futures have increased after Vale was ordered to close operations at a complex that accounts for about a tenth of its output, adding to supply woes and boosting concerns that surging cases of Covid-19 in Brazil will disrupt other mines. Bloomberg reported that a Brazilian labour court issued the order to halt mining at the company’s Itabira complex after 188 workers tested positive. Vale said that it had managed to operate through the pandemic, implementing safety measures without stalling output.

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