Silver and COVID-19: Who’s Reacting and How?

- April 13th, 2020

(Now updated). As countries around the world take measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, how are silver companies responding? Here’s an overview.

COVID-19 has spread rapidly around the world, affecting diverse industries on a global level. 

The mining space is no exception, and commodities across the board are being impacted by the virus. Precious metals in particular have experienced high levels of volatility since the pandemic began to unfold last year, and silver has been caught in the storm.

To help investors track what’s happening in the industry, we’ve gathered our silver-focused COVID-19 coverage below and listed responses from silver major, junior and royalty/streaming companies. Read on to learn what they’ve done or said so far in the face of the coronavirus.

 

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All news and data were current as of April 13, 2020. This article will be updated as new information becomes available — if you know of a silver company that has issued a response to COVID-19 but is not listed, please email editorial@investingnews.com

Silver and COVID-19: INN coverage

Click the links below to read what INN has written so far about COVID-19 and silver:

Silver and COVID-19: Producing companies

Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

Buenaventura (NYSE:BVN) — Precious metals miner Buenaventura issued its first COVID-19 update on March 17, a day after the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency to contain the virus. At the time, it said it would limit activity at its operations in the country.

The restrictions were originally supposed to be lifted on March 31, but Peru has now extended them until April 12. Buenaventura said on April 2 that its direct operations remain on care and maintenance, with only critical activities taking place. The company also withdrew its guidance for 2020.

Excellon Resources (TSX:EXN,OTC Pink:EXLLF) — After telling investors on March 20 that it was monitoring coronavirus developments, Excellon Resources said on April 2 that it is halting mining, milling and exploration at its Mexican operations until April 30. The country’s government has suspended non-essential activities until that time, meaning the company’s Platosa mine will be taken offline.

Platosa is Excellon’s only producing asset, although the company is in the process of acquiring Otis Gold (TSXV:OOO,OTC Pink:OGLDF.

First Majestic Silver (TSX:FR,NYSE:AG) — On April 3, First Majestic Silver suspended operations at its Mexico-based San Dimas, Santa Elena and La Encantada mines. As mentioned, Mexico has mandated that all mines in the country close until April 30; the company said it is working with various other entities to make the case that mining is essential to the medical industry and should continue during coronavirus-related shutdowns.

All of First Majestic’s producing mines are located in Mexico, and the company has withdrawn its 2020 cost and production guidance.

Great Panther Mining (TSX:GPR,NYSEAMERICAN:GPL)Gold and silver producer Great Panther Mining also told investors on March 20 that it was monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and then temporarily suspended its Mexican operations on April 2. The company’s Guanajuato mine complex and Topia mine will remain offline until April 30.

According to Great Panther, mining and processing continue uninterrupted at its Tucano mine in Brazil.

Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) — Hecla Mining said on March 19 that it was taking a variety of actions in the wake of COVID-19, including putting health and safety procedures in place, restricting mine site access and stockpiling mining supplies. It also informed investors that it was securing contracts that guarantee a silver price of US$16 per ounce in Q2, and gold prices of US$1,450 per ounce and US$1,650 in the second and third quarters of this year, respectively.

Additionally, on March 24, the company suspended work at its Casa Berardi gold mine in order to comply with the Quebec government’s order for miners to reduce operations to a minimum. Originally set to remain offline until April 13, that date has since been extended until May 4.

In an April 7 announcement, Hecla said it was also winding down operations at its San Sebastian mine in Mexico; it will be staffed with a minimum number of workers until April 30, per government rules.

Despite the shutdowns at Casa Berardi and San Sebastian, the company’s three US mines remain operational as they have been deemed essential. Even so, Hecla has withdrawn its 2020 guidance in order to assess the impact of COVID-19.

Pan American Silver (TSX:PAAS,NASDAQ:PAAS) — Activity at Pan American Silver’s four mines in Peru was suspended after the government declared a state of emergency on March 16. As mentioned, the state of emergency was originally set to last for 15 days, but has now been extended until April 12.

On March 23, Pan American also shut down its operations Argentina and Bolivia, where mandatory national quarantines have been enacted. The lockdowns were also scheduled to last until March 31, but have now been extended until April 13 in Argentina and April 15 in Bolivia.

In response to the Mexican government’s mandate, Pan American said on April 2 that it would bring its La Colorada and Dolores operations in the country into compliance. It said it is not yet able to determine what the impact on its 2002 guidance will be.

Silver and COVID-19: Royalty and streaming companies

Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

Metalla Royalty & Streaming (TSXV:MTA,NYSEAMERICAN:MTA) — The company has royalties on Pan American’s COSE and Joaquin mines in Argentina; as mentioned, the country is under a mandatory quarantine, and mining at those assets has been halted. Metalla Royalty & Streaming is not yet sure what the shutdowns will mean for its cash flow and dividend schedule, but is monitoring the situation.

Silver and COVID-19: Junior companies

Companies are listed in alphabetical order.

Discovery Metals (TSXV:DSV,OTCQX:DSVMF) — Discovery Metals said on March 19 that it would decelerate exploration activity at its flagship Mexico-based Cordero project. On March 31, in response to the Mexican government’s orders, it suspended all exploration at its operations in the country.

 

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Kootenay Silver (TSXV:KTN) — Drill programs at the company’s Columba silver and Copalito silver-gold projects in Mexico have been suspended as of March 31. Kootenay Silver is focused on Mexico and its news this year has been centered on Columba.

SilverCrest Metals (TSX:SIL,NYSEAMERICAN:SILV) — SilverCrest Metals suspended exploration and underground development work at its Mexican Las Chispas project on March 30. The stoppage will last at least until April 30, and the firm said that due to the coronavirus outbreak it is now uncertain when it will make a construction decision for Las Chispas. It is targeting the release of a feasibility study for Q3.

Vizsla Resources (TSXV:VZLA— After initially outlining its COVID-19 response on March 23, Vizsla Resources announced on April 2 that it has postponed exploration at its Mexico-based Panuco property. It will still receive drill assays from the project while it is offline. Panuco is Vizsla’s main project, but it also has the Blueberry project in BC.

Aside from the companies mentioned above, some exploration companies have taken precautions and preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. Here’s a quick rundown of firms that have taken action in their offices and/or on site:

Alexco Resource (TSX:AXU,NYSEAMERICAN:AXU), IMPACT Silver (TSXV:IPT) and Silver One Resources (TSXV:SVE,OTCQB:SLVRF).

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, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

 

New FREE Report: Investing in Psychedelics

   
What’s ahead for this exciting new segment? Learn more with our exclusive psychedelics report today. Published July 6, 2020.
 
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