How the Mining Industry is Responding to Covid-19?
Published by : Industrial Automation
With the rapid spread of Covid-19 across the world, top 50 mining companies comes under pressure at the end of the first quarter of 2020. At the end of 2019, these top 50 MINING.COM’s ranking companies had a cumulative market value within a shouting distance of $1 trillion after adding nearly $160 billion in market capitalization over the course of the year. However, in the three months of 2020, the pandemic has wiped $282 billion from the market value.
The government-mandated lockdown measures to contain the virus rates have caused some mine operators to reduce operations or shut down entirely. As companies largely remain modest about their production outlook in light of the closures, several global companies have begun initiatives to assist local, regional and national health systems to combat Covid-19.
For example, AngloGold Ashanti, a global gold mining company, sold its South African assets to Harmony Gold Mining in February; however, it has pledged to support the nation through the Covid-19 crisis. The company has turned two of its mining into hospitals for the provincial governments of the North West and Gauteng, which will be used exclusively by the authorities for the treatment and isolation of patients with Covid-19.
On the other side, Anglo-Australian miner BHP has also announced plans to establish a 50 million Australian dollar fund to support mining communities in the regions of Australia where it operates, with investment to be directed into critical health services and resilience building. BHP’s Chile-based two vast copper mining assets, Escondida and Pampa Norte, has committed a further $8 million to reinforce the country’s public health network, in association with the medical faculty of Universidad Católica.
The second-largest gold mining company in the world, Canada-based Barrick, has announced support for many countries it operates in. Recently, the company had handled a cheque for $530,000 to the Zambian government. Earlier this month, Barrick made further announced with a $1.5 million support programme to help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the fight against coronavirus. Barrick had already implemented support measures to safeguard workers at its Kibali mine in the DRC. According to the company, the mine’s doctors and health workers are managing that programme using their experience in dealing with other deadly disease outbreaks such as Ebola.
Moreover, Diamond miner and marketer De Beers also announced a $2.5 million stimulus contribution, which spread across Botswana and Namibia. The contribution makes the company’s larger effort across its four producing countries including Canada and South Africa to support governments and local communities to procure medical supplies, logistical support, food security for vulnerable households, and water supply to local communities. Additionally, the fund creates initiatives to improve education and awareness around Covid-19.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues its impact around the world, the efforts from mining companies that have been making financial and logistical contributions to tackle the pandemic are remarkable. And we believe the collaborative efforts between public-private entities will be effective in the fight to combat Covid-19.