Coronavirus company news summary – South Africa faces production hit – Poland faces outbreak among miners – Lithium producers struggle with demand slump

27 May 2020 (Last Updated May 27th, 2020 09:33)

27 May

The Minerals Council South Africa has warned that mining production in the country is likely to fall by between 8% and 10% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After a nationwide lockdown was announced in March to contain the virus, mines across South Africa were forced to close temporarily. Since 1 May, open-cast mines have been permitted to work at full capacity, while deep-level mines were restricted to 50% owing to concerns around the viability of social distancing in underground mines.

More than 3,600 miners have so far tested positive for Covid-19 in Poland. In the hardest-hit area of Poland, the Silesia region, miners account for half of the total confirmed cases. Results of large-scale testing are still coming in, according to the Polish press agency PAP.

BHP has established new partnerships to support communities through the Covid-19 pandemic. As part of this, the company’s Vital Resources Fund is offering more than $3.3m in funding to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander controlled community health services across Australia. Using this funding, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health bodies and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical services can continue to deliver critical health care services, distribute supplies and educate communities about transmission risks that are associated with the virus.

Lithium producers have been forced into survival mode with output cuts as well as delays in expansion and sales of major assets, Reuters reported, as the Covid-19 pandemic  has caused economic stress. Since January this year, lithium industry shares have dropped as the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has hit demand for the metal.