Coronavirus Fallout Reaches Some of the World’s Most-Remote Mines – by Alistair MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – March 17, 2020)

Four of the world’s largest miners said they are closing production or slowing project construction, as fallout from the coronavirus pandemic reaches beyond the sector’s share prices to some of its most isolated mines.

As with other sectors, investors have dumped mining shares amid expectations the pandemic will substantially diminish global growth and demand for resources. But the mining industry is unique in that its main assets and people are typically in very remote areas, presenting the sector with challenges.

Anglo American PLC, and America’s two largest miners, Newmont Corp. and Freeport-McMoRan Inc., said on Monday they were suspending projects or stopping some mining in Peru after the country announced a national quarantine to curb coronavirus’s spread.

Brazil’s Vale SA said late Monday it will close a nickel mine in a secluded part of northwest Canada for four weeks, in order to prevent workers it flies in from potentially spreading the virus into local communities.

Rio Tinto PLC and Lundin Mining Corp. have also restricted new projects, and miners world-wide are curbing travel, asking workers to take stringent tests before they travel to far-flung mines and preparing medical isolation units at such sites.

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