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Newmont withdraws 2020 guidance, suspends some mining due to COVID-19

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(Kitco News) - Newmont Corp. (NYSE: NEM, TSX: NGT), the world’s largest gold-mining company, is putting four mines on “care and maintenance” and withdrawing its 2020 production guidance as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, the company announced Monday.

The four mines temporarily put on care and maintenance include Musselwhite and Eleanore in Canada, Cerro Negro in Argentina and Yanacocha in Peru, Newmont said. Officials said the moves were made to protect nearby communities and align with travel restrictions and health guidelines in these countries.

“We currently have no confirmed COVID-19 cases among our workforce and are taking significant, proactive measures including social distancing at all our sites, removing substantial numbers of non-critical workers from our operations, closing offices with employees working remotely, and stopping all non-essential business travel to ensure we don’t become a pathway for transmission to others,” said Tom Palmer, president and chief executive officer.

The company said it is withdrawing its full-year 2020 guidance only since some output could be deferred into 2021. This potentially impacts costs for this year, should some operations be shut down for an extended period.

For the first quarter, Newmont said it now expects to produce approximately 1.4 million gold ounces and 325,000 co-product gold-equivalent ounces. From the start of the year through Feb. 29, output was approximately 981,000 gold ounces and 227,000 co-product gold-equivalent ounces. Officials said the company is not running into any significant delays in shipping of concentrate or transportation and refining of dore, but conceded this could occur depending upon any government-required shutdowns and border restrictions.

“Our business continuity plans and rapid response teams have been fully mobilized in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Palmer said. “We are working closely with host communities, First Nations and other indigenous peoples, regional and national governments and health experts to protect our workforce and nearby communities.”

Newmont also said it has financial resources to weather the pandemic. As of the end of the fourth quarter, Newmont said, the company had $2.2 billion in consolidated cash and more than $5 billion of liquidity.

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