MMG’s Las Bambas cut operations to restrict Covid-19 spread

MMG temporarily reduced productions at its Peruvian copper mine-Las Bambas following the local governments’ declaration of a 15-day state of national emergency to contain the coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Australian-Chinese miner said on Thursday March 19.

Necessary measures to protect the workforce at the asset have been taken, including reducing employees not in critical roles and contractor levels, with no coronavirus cases identified at the site up to now, the company said.

During the 15-day quarantine period, logistics will be affected due to a shortage of workers.

“The transport of concentrates and critical supplies will also be significantly restricted during the period of National Emergency,” MMG said.

After a series of operational suspension announcements in the week starting March 16 - following the declaration of a state of national emergency in top copper production and mining hubs, Peru and Chile - the market is in shock with few offers on the spot market this week.

Fastmarkets’ copper concentrates TC index, cif Asia Pacific rose to $68 per tonne on March 13, up from $66.40 per tonne a week earlier due to the smelting disruptions caused by the virus over the past month in China.

MMG’s projects in Australia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have not been disrupted to date.

The company’s Australian assets comprise the Dugald River and Rosebery zinc mines, with the Kinsever copper smelter the DRC project.

Las Bambas is a joint venture project among MMG (62.5%), a wholly owned subsidiary of Guoxin International Investment (22.5%) and CITIC Metal (15%).

Earlier this month, MMG issued a 2020 production guidance of 350,000-370,000 tonnes of copper in copper concentrate from Las Bambas mine in its 2019 annual report.

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