Newmont ramping down Yanacocha gold mining due to gov’t coronavirus rules
(Kitco News) - Newmont Corp. (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT) will be ramping down mining operations at the Yanacocha mine in Peru as a result of restrictions instituted by the government in response to the global coronavirus outbreak, the company announced Tuesday.
However, gold production from leach pads, as well as managing safety and environmental activities, will continue, the company said. Previously, Yanacocha had been operating as normal, officials said.
Newmont’s website describes Yanacocha as South America’s largest gold mine. The operation is a joint venture that includes Newmont (majority owner at 51.35%), Minas Buenaventura (43.65%) and the International Finance Corp. (5%). The website says annual production is typically around 270,000 ounces.
Yanacocha represents around 3% of Newmont’s 2020 gold-production outlook, the company said. With the uncertainty about the virus situation, officials said they are currently unable to determine the impact on Yanacocha’s production and costs for 2020.
“The health and safety of our workforce and host communities takes precedence above all else,” said Tom Palmer, president and chief executive officer. “While we have no confirmed COVID-19 cases among Newmont’s workforce or any major disruptions to production at our other sites at this time, we are proactively taking steps to protect our people and the continuity of our business during this global pandemic.”
The company has closed its corporate and regional offices for at least two weeks, with the exception of workers required to run critical office-based systems. Newmont has also prohibited company travel to areas highly impacted by the virus, such as China, South Korea and Italy, as well as eliminating all non-essential travel.