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World’s Miners Slowly Grind to a Halt on Virus Restrictions

A number of miners are being forced to halt or curtail production and processing as governments worldwide implement emergency measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Unprecedented disruptions to operations and supply chains are threatening the outlook for industrial and precious metals, just as demand is hit by concerns about a global recession. Risks are greatest in commodities where supply is concentrated in country, such as South Africa’s dominance of platinum.

Read more on where coronavirus lockdowns can hit metals the most

Miners are also grappling with uncertainty about the impact of government measures. South Africa will allow platinum producers to run processing facilities during its 21-day national lockdown, though operations at mines will be scaled down significantly. Elsewhere, operations in copper giants Chile and Peru have been curtailed by nationwide lockdowns. Similar restrictions are hurting some Asian producers and causing chaos at ports in India.

Here’s how some key companies are being affected by the pandemic.

Vanstar, IamgoldNelligan project in CanadaDiamondTemporarily stops drilling work, evaluating other gold projects
CodelcoCopper projects in ChileCopperHalts construction of some key projects, reduced capacity for 15 days beginning March 19
Northern StarGold mines in Australia, AlaskaGoldEstimates disruptions will result in March quarter production being 10%-15% lower than expected
Northern MineralsBrowns Range project in AustraliaRare earthsProject suspended
Rio TintoRichards Bay Minerals in South AfricaZircon, rutile, iron, slagProduction will halt by midnight Thursday, company will put furnaces on care and maintenance
Rio TintoAluminum assets in CanadaAluminumCompany will slowproduction in Quebec, in line with provincial curbs on activity
ValeVoisey’s Bay in CanadaNickel-cobalt-copper concentrate, copper concentrateMine put on care and maintenance for four weeks, copper-concentrate production at Long Harbour will be reduced proportionally to the period of the stoppage
Freeport-McMoRanCerro Verde mine in PeruCopperMine put under care and maintenance for 15 days beginning March 16
LynasRare earths plant in MalaysiaRare earthsProduction at processing plant halted until at least March 31

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