The share of international mining projects that progressed to the next stage of development has significantly decreased from 3.8% in Q4 2019 to 2.8% in Q1 2020 and is expected to slow further in Q2 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new report by energy research firm GlobalData.
According to the industry report, mining companies have minimized their workforce to temporarily suspend operations and development activities as several countries are currently in complete lockdown.
“As of April 13, the progress of 35 mines currently under construction globally was suspended because of such lockdowns. These projects account for approximately 9% of total mines under construction and around 10.5% of total capacity as measured by run-of-mine (ROM).”explained Vinneth Bajaj, mining analyst at GlobalData.
Anglo American slowed the development of its $5.3 billion Quellaveco copper mine in Peru, withdrawing employees and contractors amid the country’s lockdown.
The company also temporarily suspends its newly acquired potash project in the UK, Woodsmith, from March 27.
In Canada, Vale originally placed its Voisey’s Bay mine on care and maintenance for four weeks but has since extended this for up to three months – delaying the development of its mine expansion project and transition from open pit to underground mining.
Likewise, in Chile, Teck Resources has put on hold construction works at its Quebrada Blanca phase 2 in the wake of the country’s lockdown measures. The updated feasibility study work of the Prieska copper-zinc project in South Africa is undergoing remotely, with the site being temporarily closed.
“About 76 mineral projects advanced in Q1 2020, down from the 101 projects in Q4 2019. Assets moving forward into construction include the El Pilar copper project in Mexico, the Zaldivar copper-molybdenum in Chile, and North star iron ore in Australia,” Bajaj said.