Coronavirus Round-Up: Mining Industry Steps Up Response

- March 29th, 2020

As the new week kicks off, here’s a round-up of the Investing News Network’s top stories last week covering the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus is impacting the world on many different levels, with uncertainty dominating the news flow as the fight against COVID-19 continues globally.

Last week, world leaders stepped up their responses, taking strict measures to try to slow down the spread of the pandemic, with Spain and Italy extending lockdowns, while G20 countries joined forces to ensure the economy gets back on track.

The outbreak has now seen more than half million people get infected, with the death toll reaching over 23,600 as of March 26. Of the more than 147,000 closed cases, over 123,000 have recovered.

 

Investing During the Pandemic

   
The latest on what experts see coming for resources and commodities amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
 

To keep investors up to date with what’s been going on in the mining industry related to COVID-19, we’ve put together a round-up of the Investing News Network’s top stories last week on the pandemic. All information and data were current as of March 27.

INN’s COVID-19 coverage: Top stories this week

1. “Challenging Times”: Cameco, Orano Halt Uranium Production

As stricter measures are introduced by the Canadian government to try to quell the spread of COVID-19, two of Saskatchewan’s leading uranium producers plan to temporarily shutter related projects.

Sector major Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ), along with Orano, will close the Cigar Lake uranium mine (Cameco) and the McClean Lake mill (Orano) to ensure employee and community safety.

The announcement was made jointly because ore from Cigar Lake is processed at the McClean Lake mill, making a simultaneous closure necessary.

2. Congo’s Copper, Cobalt Mining Province in Coronavirus Lockdown

Last week, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) set a two day lockdown on copper– and cobalt-mining province Haut-Katanga and closed the public markets of neighboring Lualaba province.

The measures came after two COVID-19 cases were confirmed on a flight, prompting the governor of Haut-Katanga province, Jacques Kyabula, to issue the lockdown order late last Sunday (March 22). He added that the boundaries of the southeastern province will also be closed.

“No activity will be tolerated in Haut-Katanga during this 48-hour period,” Kyabula said. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the DRC stood at 30 at the time, including two deaths.

3. Lundin Gold Temporarily Halts Production at Fruta del Norte

Just four days after a COVID-19 press release noting it was carefully monitoring the situation, Lundin Gold (TSX:LUG,OTC Pink:FTMNF) said it would temporarily suspend operations at Fruta del Norte.

With the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide continuing to grow on a daily basis, the gold producer has decided to halt production at the Ecuador-based asset.

“The situation in Ecuador has changed rapidly over the last few days,” said Ron Hochstein, Lundin Gold’s president and CEO, in a press release last Sunday.

INN’s COVID-19 coverage: The bright side

Despite news of closures and temporary suspensions across the entire commodities sector, the world saw some recovery out of China last week.

After three months, cases are slowly declining across the Asian country, giving some hope to the rest of the world. Hubei, the epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak, lifted its lockdown last Wednesday (March 25), reaching a major step in the recovery process.

After falling sharply earlier this month, gold and silver also saw a rebound in prices last week, with the yellow metal trading back above US$1,600 per ounce. For Joe Foster, portfolio manager and strategist at investment management firm Van Eck, it’s very possible that the worst is over for gold and gold stocks and the bounce back has begun.

Aside from news about the coronavirus impact, the mining space also saw Endeavour Mining (TSX:EDV,OTCQX:EDVMF) and SEMAFO (TSX:SMF) announce a C$1 billion deal that is set to create a top gold producer. Additionally, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) signed a new lithium offtake deal and Northern Graphite (TSXV:NGC,NGPHF:OTCQB) secured financing for its Bissett Creek graphite project.

More COVID-19 coverage from INN

Click the links below for more of INN’s commodity-specific coverage of COVID-19:

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

 

Is gold a good hedge investment in 2020?

   
Read our FREE 2020 outlook report on gold investing!
 

Get the latest Resource Investing stock information

Leave a Reply