Silver Miners Hammered by C-19 Lockdowns


Since mid-March, the response of governments worldwide to the C-19 coronavirus chaos has led to disrupted mining activities worldwide.

A total of 32 countries have passed partial or complete lockdown orders, leading to the temporary suspension of activities at over 1,600 mines as of 3 April, though that number has since dropped down to 729 as restrictions begin to ease in certain areas, analysts at GlobalData report.

The exempted mines are still operating with reduced numbers of workers to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

That has/is causing a slow return for an industry that has seen production hit by other restrictions.

Among the mining activities affected by C-19, silver production is the hardest hit, with nearly 66% of the world’s annual output on hold.

Silver miners First Majestic (NASDAQ:AG), Hochschild (L:HOC), Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL)and Endeavour Silver (NYSE:EXK) have all withdrawn their production guidance for Y 2020 in the wake of the virus outbreak.

Other metals that are experiencing significant production disruptions include: uranium (32%), zinc (23.8%), platinum (19.5%), nickel (14.6%), diamond (14.4%) and copper (12.7%), according to GlobalData.

Progress has also been halted on 23 mines under construction, including the $5.3-B Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, 1 of the world’s biggest copper mines under development. The project has an annual copper production capacity of up to 180,000 tonnes and is expected to commence operations by Y 2022.

In Chile, while a lockdown is not in force, Antofagasta has halted work on its Los Pelambres project and Teck Resources has suspended work on the Quebrada Blanca Phase II mine.

As of today, lockdowns remain in force in mining jurisdictions like Peru (until 10 May), Mexico (30 May), Bolivia (30 April) and Namibia (4 May).

In Quebec, restrictions have been extended to 4 May, but the government has allowed mines to reopen from 15 April as essential services if miners comply with strict safety measures.

Lockdown orders in India, Argentina, Zimbabwe and South Africa have been withdrawn, with mining seen as an essential service.

Have a healthy week, Keep the Faith!