HOTTER ON METALS: All eyes on Chile as coronavirus pressure heats up
Copper market participants should have been gathering in Santiago, Chile, for the annual CESCO dinner on Wednesday March 25. Instead, the country’s mining industry was nervously eyeing the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pandemic, and its government was coming under increasing pressure to impose a lockdown similar to what India and South Africa have instituted.
Chile has so far restricted travel into the country and declared a national emergency a week ago to limit the spread of the coronavirus. It has stopped short of a lockdown, unlike its neighbor Argentina, which has one-third of the cases of Chile but imposed a mandatory quarantine last week.
To date, Chile’s copper production doesn’t appear to have been too badly impacted.
But mining companies do not have to report production data unless they are going to miss their stated production guidance. Unless that guidance is very narrow, then a producer is not likely to have fallen out of range yet.
That means announcements have typically been limited to a company imposing restrictive measures, slowing work or reducing capacity, but without revealing an actual production capacity or anticipated loss.