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July 6, 2020

Coronavirus company news summary – Trevali suspends Santander mine – DRC looks to end mandatory confinement – Indonesia to cut coal production

By Matthew Hall

6 July

Trevali Mining has suspended operations at its Santander mine in Peru after it reported that a total of 82 workers have tested positive for Covid-19. The cases were identified during routine testing and the company quarantined all 298 workers on site who underwent further testing. At present, three individuals are displaying mild symptoms while all other workers are asymptomatic. Trevali suspended operations to focus on the health and safety of Santander’s workforce and the community. Workers who have tested negative and are not required for critical tasks at the mine site are being transported offsite to their homes.

Democratic Republic of Congo Mines Minister Willy Kitobo Samsoni is set to meet with mining companies to agree a moratorium on confining workers to mine sites due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last month, civil society groups demanded an end to mandatory confinement policies hat were implemented by copper and cobalt mining companies to avoid outbreaks. Reuters quoted Samsoni as saying in a statement that he would deliver a moratorium to mining companies by engaging with them to end confinement while taking their individual needs into account.

Indonesian mining companies have announced their decision to cut domestic production by 50 million tonnes this year in an effort to increase worldwide coal prices which have been declining amid the Covid-19 crisis. The Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI) has forecast coal production this year to fall short by 11% to 530 million metric tonnes. But members of the association are planning to cut production to 480 million tonnes due to weak prices. Last month, the country’s benchmark coal price hit $5,298 per tonne, according to data released by the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry. APBI chairman Pandu Sjahrir was quoted by The Jakarta Post as saying that the low price trend will continue amid concerns over a possible second wave of Covid-19.

Czech Republic Health Minister Adam Vojtech said that Covid-19 cases in its mining area are currently under control and are expected to ease soon. An increase in new coronavirus infections in a Czech coal mining region has been the driver of a recent jump in overall cases. Due to the rise in cases, some other European Union members such as Slovenia were prompted to remove the Czech Republic from their list of safe countries. Vojtech tweeted that the situation is currently under control and a drop in cases is expected if infected people maintain quarantine and abide by the rules.

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