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June 12, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – DRC miners urged to end mine confinement policies – South Africa reports production decline – Polish miner records outbreak

By Matthew Hall

12 June

A group of 11 civil society organisations have urged copper and cobalt mining companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo to end mandatory mine-site confinement policies. Sealing mine sites off is a measure taken by mining firms in Congo in a bid to avoid Covid-19 outbreaks which could force them to shut down. Workers at many mines in Congo’s southern copper- and cobalt-rich region have been told by managers to either stay and work or lose their jobs, the organisations said.

The resource industry in Australia is set to aid the economic recovery as higher prices and expansion plans assist the country as it emerges from its coronavirus lockdown. Mining in the country accounts for nearly 6% of gross domestic product but plays a key role in national income, BloombergQuint reported. Iron ore is Australia’s biggest export and has broken $100 a tonne amid off-shore supply concerns, thereby offering a timely budget boost.

Mining production in South Africa declined during March and April this year, when output was largely halted during a lockdown that was aimed at containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Following a nationwide lockdown in late March, mines in the country were forced to shut temporarily. Total mining output in the country declined 47.3% year on year in April and contracted 18.0% in March, according to Statistics South Africa. As estimated by industry body the Minerals Council South Africa, mining production is set to fall by between 8% and 10% this year due to the pandemic.

Poland-based coking coal producer Jastrzebska Spólka Weglowa (JSW) has temporarily suspended production at its KWK Budryk and KWK Knurów-Szczyglowice mines due to a rise in new Covid-19 cases among its workers, Fastmarkets reported. The infection is believed to have spread in several mines, even after taking precautionary measures, such as screening tests among its workers.

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