Vale foresees cuts to iron-ore output on coronavirus lockdowns

Brazilian mining company Vale said in a presentation on Tuesday that it expects iron-ore production cuts because of lockdowns imposed globally to control the spread of the coronavirus. Vale calculates roughly 18-million tonnes of output could be interrupted in the transoceanic market. The company also said the pandemic has had limited impact on operations so far, as it has seen no interruptions in Brazilian production or Chinese ports.

Vale says resumption of lost capacity could be slowed

Brazilian mining company Vale said on Tuesday it was at risk of postponing the resumption of lost production capacity due to possible coronavirus-related delays in inspections, assessments and authorizations but that existing output so far had seen little impact. The risks, representing a fresh round of upheaval after production cuts last year stemming from the dam burst in the town of Brumadinho that killed roughly 270 people, were detailed in a presentation.

South Africa lockdown squeezes global chrome supply

Samancor Chrome, one of the world's biggest ferrochrome producers, has declared force majeure because of South Africa's 21-day coronavirus lockdown, removing further supply from global chrome markets. South Africa ordered all underground mines and furnaces be put on care and maintenance status from midnight on March 26 as part of its measures to contain the spread of the virus.

China iron ore futures pick up after factory activity unexpectedly expands

Chinese iron-ore futures picked up in early trade on Tuesday, rising more than 1% on demand hopes after the world's second-biggest economy reported an unexpected growth in its factory activities in March. China's official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to 52 this month from a record low in February, beating analysts' expectations of 45.0, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Top platinum miners declare force majeure after coronavirus lockdown

The world's largest platinum producers Anglo American Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater and Impala Platinum have declared force majeure on contracts after a three-week national lockdown forced operations to close. South Africa, which accounts for around 70% of mined platinum supply, called the shutdown last week to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The measure triggered a downgrade of the country's sovereign rating by Moody's on Friday and has hit its mining industry, which accounts for about 7% of GDP. Miners have put many of their operations on care and maintenance and have reduced metal processing.

Australia’s Coronado to idle US operations as virus trips global economic growth

Coronado Global Resources said on Monday it will temporarily halt metallurgical coal output from its U.S. operations due the global economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic but will meet its current commitments. Operations at its other mine in Australia, Curragh, which accounts for 65% of its output and earnings, will continue as normal to meet demand from customers in Asia Pacific and India.

Vedanta CEO Venkatakrishnan resigns

Diversified miner Vedanta said on Friday CEO S Venkatakrishnan has resigned due to personal reasons, less than two years after he took the helm. Sunil Duggal, current head of Vedanta unit Hindustan Zinc, will take over as interim CEO. Venkatakrishnan, who was previously CEO of South African miner AngloGold Ashanti, took over as Vedanta chief in 2018 amid a rebound in metal prices.

Bolivia’s largest mine suspends operations as virus controls tighten

Bolivia's San Cristóbal mine, a huge desposit of zinc, lead and silver, has suspended operations after the country imposed tough rules to halt the spread of coronavirus, its operator Minera San Cristóbal said in a statement on Friday. The company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japana's Sumitomo Corporation, said it would impose a "temporary suspension of the production and export of concentrated zinc, lead and silver minerals" following the government measures.

Zimbabwe cuts rates, miners send coronavirus distress signals

Zimbabwe's central bank cut its main lending rate to 25% on Thursday and set a fixed exchange rate as part of measures to support the economy against the coronavirus pandemic. The Chamber of Mines, which represents major mining companies in the country, said mineral production could fall 60% in the second quarter due to the impact of coronavirus, hurting a country that heavily relies on the sector for scarce dollars.

Coronavirus slows US push to produce electric vehicle minerals

The coronavirus pandemic is hobbling US efforts to produce lithium, rare earths and other materials used in electric vehicles and high-tech equipment, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump's plan to curb Chinese control of the strategic minerals sector. As the pandemic has killed about 20 000 across the globe, US junior miners have slowed engineering work, environmental reviews and loan applications. "We can just hit pause," said Keith Phillips, CEO of North Carolina's Piedmont Lithium. Piedmont, Lithium Americas and ioneer, both of which have Nevada projects, have said they now face engineering or regulatory setbacks that could push back mine construction. Most companies focused on US strategic minerals have large cash reserves after recent stock and bond offerings. While none have yet to report an employee testing positive, the virus has nevertheless fueled a bunker mentality among some executives.