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Coeur ramping down Palmarejo mine due to COVID-19; U.S. operations continue

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(Kitco News) - Coeur Mining, Inc. (NYSE: CDE) is ramping down operations at its Palmarejo gold-silver complex in Mexico, but all of its mines in the U.S. are still operating, the company announced Tuesday.

“In light of the temporary suspension at Palmarejo and ongoing uncertainty regarding COVID-19, Coeur has decided to withdraw its full-year 2020 guidance,” Coeur said in a prepared statement. “The company will continue targeting safe execution of its operating plans and re-evaluate instituting full-year 2020 guidance as the year progresses.”

The Palmarejo temporary shutdown is the result of a decree from the Mexican government halting all non-essential business until April 30, Coeur said. The company said it got guidance from the government on Monday saying that mining does not qualify as essential. A reduced workforce will remain at the site to maintain infrastructure, environmental compliance and provide security.

Meanwhile, Coeur said, precious-metals mining is considered essential to support infrastructure in every U.S. state where it operates – Nevada, Alaska and South Dakota. As a result, these mines continue to operate, and there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases. Further, Coeur said it has not had any disruptions to its supply chain at the mines that are still open.

The company said it has undertaken a number of steps to help the global effort to combat the virus, including travel restrictions, temperature checks and health questionnaires, increased cleaning, social distancing, limiting meetings to no more than 10 people, extended work-rotation schedules to reduce travel to and from mine sites, and working remotely when possible, such as corporate headquarters.

Coeur produced 359,418 ounces of gold and 11.7 million ounces of silver in 2019, as well as zinc and lead, according to the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report released in February. Palmarejo accounted for 111,932 gold ounces and 6.8 million silver ounces.

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