Mining companies have not escaped the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For example, global social distancing measures have seen projects slow or be put on hold entirely, for example.
Similarly, fluctuations in the prices of commodities and an uncertain global economy have seen share prices of listed mining companies head into a downward spiral.
As an example of the above, platinum and palladium prices were noted to drop by more than 40% in one three week period.
According to Deloitte, “company operations themselves have been affected through isolated outbreaks and government-mandated shutdowns in markets like South Africa and Peru”.
The global consulting firm also pointed to price drops in commodities including copper, iron ore and zinc, in its recent Understanding the Sector Impact of COVID-19: Mining & Metals report.
Deloitte explained that, as China emerges from the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, its manufacturing and mining operations are returning. However, it added: “a wider increase in commodity prices is likely to remain low for a few quarters”.
The report set out several long-term impacts that may be felt by mining and metal companies. These include:
With these concerns in mind, Deloitte made several recommendations, noting that “mining and metals leaders will be defined by what they do along the three dimensions of managing a crisis”.
Mining leaders should, it said, consider how critical services can be maintained while also ensuring safety remains at the fore.
Efforts should also focus on understanding financial and legal exposure and how to maintain financial viability. The current crisis could potentially be framed as presenting opportunities for further automation and digitalisation, too.