Despite strong demand, mining companies say supply chain challenges continue to disrupt business – by Irene Galea (Globe and Mail – December 13, 2021)

Mining companies are facing long delays getting new equipment and transporting shipments because of supply chain problems, as the effects of the pandemic, labour shortages, increased demand for raw materials and metals, and natural disasters continue to create disruptions globally.

Smaller exploration companies say they are unable to find drills, and turnaround times for necessary lab tests have tripled, which is hindering their ability to raise funds on the public markets. Meanwhile, larger companies already operating mines are seeing increased transport costs and delays shipping materials both in and out of their facilities, causing some to shut down where there is no more room for additional inventory.

“Two or three years ago, I could make a phone call and I had a drill within a week,” said Warwick Smith, chief executive officer of American Pacific Mining Corp., an exploration company based in Vancouver. “Now I just can’t find one. You don’t know how hard I’ve worked for the last three months to try to get a drill.”

Mr. Smith estimated that at each of American Pacific’s four mining projects in the United States, costs have increased 25 per cent to 30 per cent compared with prepandemic levels because of supply chain issues.

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