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August 7, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Ok Tedi suspends operations – Minerals Council South Africa supports recovery plan – Glencore cuts dividend

By Matthew Hall

7 August

Ok Tedi Mining has suspended normal operations at its copper and gold mine in Tabubil, Papua New Guinea for 14 days after seven workers tested positive for Covid-19. Of the total cases, only one worker has exhibited flu like symptoms while the other six are currently asymptomatic. All of them are in isolation at the Tabubil Hospital. As a result, the company is strictly limiting the movement of people between its operational sites located at Tabubil, Bige and Kiunga. During suspension, Ok Tedi will implement contact tracing, testing and isolation procedures to limit further spread of the virus.

Indian state-controlled mineral producer National Mining Development Corporation (NMDC) has reported a sharp spike in overall production and sales last month when compared to the corresponding figures in the same period a year ago. A production of 2.19mt and a sale of 2.57mt was reported, representing a rise of 13% and 7%, respectively when compared to the corresponding period last year. Additionally, NMDC achieved record sales last month by selling 1.90mt of iron ore.

The Minerals Council South Africa has elaborated on support for Business for South Africa (B4SA) initiative to revitalise the country’s economy and mining post Covid-19. The initiative is aimed at achieving higher levels of inclusive economic growth to recover from the pandemic. The Council has been involved in the development of the accelerated economic strategy actively. As part of this, eight critical areas were identified for the mining sector which need to be addressed immediately.

Glencore has scrapped its dividend, citing the economic outlook as too uncertain due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company said it would prioritise cutting debt instead. During the first six months of the year, the company’s net debt jumped 12% to $19.7bn and it was booking a $3.2bn charge, primarily due to the broader economic fallout on its businesses from the pandemic. Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said that every aspect of life this year has been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and its teams have adapted to these difficult conditions.

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