17 June

K92 Mining has reported that its underground Kainantu Gold Mine has delivered strong performance despite the ongoing Covid-19 State of Emergency in Papua New Guinea. Gold equivalent production is on track to exceed the first quarter of this year. The State of Emergency ended on 16 June resulting in the easing of some restrictions in Papua New Guinea. Recently, twin incline activities have recommenced at the mine due to the easing of restrictions.

Freegold Ventures has restarted drilling on its Golden Summit Project located near Fairbanks, Alaska. Initially, a Phase 1 10,000m drill programme involving about 15-20 holes is planned, starting with the completion of Hole GSDL2002 that was closed at 165m in March due to safety concerns resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The company noted that extensive safety protocols have been put in place to assist reducing the spread of the virus and to protect its contractors, employees and community.

Mining in Peru has declined sharply as the country’s economy sank by more than 40% year-on-year in April after the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed to contain the spread of the virus. Peru is one of the world’s largest producers of copper, gold and silver and mining represents 60% of its exports. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, production was drastically scaled back. Complete operation was allowed to resume last month, with some recovery expected by economists in the next few months. Peru has reported nearly 233,000 cases and more than 6,500 deaths, according to the BBC.

Human rights organisations have expressed concern for cobalt miners in Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Lualaba and Haut-Katanga provinces following reports of on-site confinement policies amid Covid-19. To stay operational during the pandemic, at least six Congolese mining companies are under complete or partial lockdown for more than two months. Currently, there is high demand for Cobalt for its value in devices with rechargeable batteries, including electric cars. A group of 11 non-governmental organisations have signed a letter addressed to 12 of the biggest cobalt and copper mining companies in DRC to put an end to mandatory mine-site confinement policies.

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