March 20

Will there be more global mining disruptions due to Coronavirus?

By Mark Daniel

March 20, 2020

Fitch Solutions reports an increasing downside risk to mineral production as the Covid-19 pandemic raises the chances of persistent operational disruptions.

In their latest report, Fitch analysts point out that although mining operations tend to be in more remote locations, there is an increasing scope for reduced personnel flow and supply chain disruptions due to government actions leading to a reduction or halt in mine production.

Fitch notes that while relatively few firms have announced operational disruptions as of yet, the firm expects this will rise as countries implement quarantine efforts to contain the virus.

Mounting Downside Risks To Short-Term Growth Global – Mine Production Growth by Mineral (% y-o-y)

Chinese mineral mining operations have reportedly begun to ramp back up following an extended halt in operations in February, while
Italy is not a major mineral producer.

The downside risk to global mineral production remains as the virus has spread outside of China, Fitch said. Within context, the Rest of the World (ROW) outside of China produces 92% of the world’s copper concentrates, 86% of iron ore and 67% of total zinc concentrate.


Analysts already reduced mineral production forecasts for Peru by 4% y-o-y each from previous levels as the government announced emergency measures on March 15.

Chinese miner MMG said on Thursday that operations at its Las Bambas copper mine had been reduced temporarily after Peru declared a state of emergency and imposed restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world’s top miner, BHP, has said its operations had not been materially impacted so far by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had implemented additional procedures to prevent the spread of the disease among its employees. BHP said its supply chains are still open and it currently has adequate supplies to operate and maintain critical equipment.

Peru recently implemented 15-day emergency isolation measures and some miners have released statements in response.

Freeport McMoRan placed Cerro Verde mine on care and maintenance, Anglo American announced it would slow construction at the Quellaveco copper project for 15 days and Newmont announced it would scale down mining operations at its Yanacocha gold mine with production from leach pads continuing. MMG said on Thursday that operations at its Las Bambas copper mine had been reduced temporarily.

In Chile, Anglo-American decided to scale down operations at its Los Bronces copper mine.

The virus’ spread to other major mineral producers, including Australia, could lead to additional quarantines if the spread overwhelms the country’s healthcare system which could force governments to implement more restrictive personnel measures, Fitch notes.

While mining operations are facing increasing risks to operations which could hamper output and lead analysts to revise 2020 production forecasts lower, Fitch is maintaining downside risks to its 2020 forecasts as events remain fluid.

Read the full report here.

Mark Daniel

Follow me here

About the Author

A global resume writer and career coach, Mark is known for his honest, direct, and hard-hitting advice, helping people manage job applications and succeed at interviews. Now based on the Sunshine Coast in Australia, he is the co-founder of Hi Vis Hub, Real Life Career Advice and a prolific publisher, contributing to several industry magazines and his daily career advice blog to his 40,000+ LinkedIn followers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

News & Career Advice for

the Hi Vis Sectors

Join 40,000 others and sign up for our newsletter. No spam. No BS. Just useful tips and updates.