4 December

Three employees working at the Barrick Hemlo Williams gold mine in Ontario, Canada have tested positive for Covid-19. The local health unit is working in tandem with mine operators to confirm if other workers who may have come into contact with infected workers also contracted the coronavirus.

Two American coal companies, Lighthouse Resources and White Station Energy, filed for bankruptcy as they incurred huge losses owing to the slump in coal prices and demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The coal industry bore the brunt of reduced power demand as activity at offices, factories and stores came to a standstill during the pandemic. The rise in use of natural gas and renewables for generating electricity during the pandemic also affected coal demand.

The easing of coronavirus related lockdown restrictions across the globe in the second half of the year helped miner Exxaro Resources increase coal output to 2019 levels. The company estimates that its coal production would reach 47.6Mt in 2020, against 45.5Mt produced last year, while its sales volume is expected to hit 46.4Mt by end of year, compared with 44.5Mt in 2019.

The resource and energy exports of Australia rose by 4.1% and 43.9% respectively in October, compared with the same period in 2019. The country’s revenue from these exports hit a record $8.17bn, as the country is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic induced economic slump. LNG exports surged by 21.9% in October from the previous month, and coal exports grew by 3%.