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July 21, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Pan American Silver suspends mines – BHP reports increase in iron ore output – Australian Minerals Council urges foreign investment

By Matthew Hall

21 July

Pan American Silver is set to move its Huaron and Morococha into care and maintenance after several workers at the Peru mines tested positive for Covid-19. Testing and tracing forms part of the company’s comprehensive protocols implemented in all of its operations in response to the pandemic. Care and maintenance activities will be carried out by reduced workforces at both the operations until the company determines that normal operations can resume safely.

Mexico-based mining company Compania Minera Autlan located in the Teziutlan municipality has reported new cases of Covid-19 in the central state of Puebla. Teziutlan Mayor Carlos Peredo said that the company executives informed him of 84 confirmed cases and an additional “pneumonia” case last week. Later, the company confirmed the number as 85. Peredo was quoted by Reuters as saying in an interview they are not aware of the exact cause and presume it was meetings outside of work. Compania, which produces metal alloys for the steel industry, said a laboratory that examined all its staff detected the contagions almost 15 days ago.

BHP has reported a 7% increase in iron ore output for the fourth quarter but warned the resurgence of Covid-19 outbreaks threatened the short-term demand outlook for its major commodities. The company has also widened its production guidance range for next year owing to uncertainties around the pandemic. Reuters quoted broker Jefferies as saying in a report that BHP’s production for the quarter was stronger than expected as the broker had modelled more significant disruptions related to Covid-19 and weaker demand. BHP lowered its guidance for next year to 1.48-1.645 million tones.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has said that foreign investment rules need to encourage further investment to sustain and grow the mining sector for the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. It added that at least $7bn of investment is required for the industry every year to maintain the existing stock of production, sustaining jobs, especially in regional areas, and supporting economic activity.


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