Tajik state metals firm TALCO has announced that the beginning of production at its TALCO Gold project, a joint venture between the company and China’s Tibet Huayu Mining Company, has been delayed until October due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The virus has already disrupted proposed operations at the mine, which was scheduled to begin commercial production at the end of March this year but has now seen its start-up date pushed back twice. While construction at the site is 80% complete, according to Reuters, the pandemic and resulting lockdown measures has delayed the delivery of equipment produced in Finland, which could take another two months to arrive.

The mine will produce antimony, a metal that is valuable for its use in batteries as a lead-antimony alloy. Alongside its predicted annual gold production of 2.5 tonnes, the TALCO Gold Mine could produce up to 21,000 tonnes of antimony, which could help drive Tajikistan to be the world’s third-largest producer of the metal.