Diversified miner Anglo American (LON: AAL) said on Friday that South Africa’s 21-day lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus will impact its iron ore and coal guidance the most.
The company, founded in South Africa more than 100 years ago, said production at its Kumba Iron Ore mine will drop by up to 3 million tonnes this year, while thermal coal output will be reduced by 1.5 to 2 million tonnes.
Anglo noted that the rail and port logistics infrastructure to support the export of both commodities is expected to continue to service the operations during the three-week period.
Anglo also lowered output of platinum and diamonds, but the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) told Business Maverik the fact that the company is keeping its mines open, though with fewer employees, was a “reckless and inhuman” pursuit of profit.
Venetia diamond mine, run by the group’s subsidiary De Beers, will operate with staff levels cut to 25%. Mogalakwena, the world’s largest palladium mine outside Russia, and Mototolo platinum mine continue to operate with a reduced workforce and production, subject to further planning, Anglo said.
Three platinum operations — Amandelbult, Modikwa and Kroondal —as well as the Mortimer and Waterfall smelters, are being placed onto care and maintenance, it said.
Anglo American said most of its major operations in other countries had so far not been materially impacted. However, it has extended a slowdown in construction at its Quellaveco copper mine in Peru and paused work in its recently acquired Woodsmith polyhalite project in Britain.
With governments from Africa to Latin America issuing lockdown orders, disruptions to operations and supply chains are affecting the outlook for industrial and precious metals.
Work is grinding to a halt and operations at mines are being temporarily suspended as companies move to enact measures to protect against the spread of covid-19.