Diversified mining and marketing company Glencore, with operations internationally, is winding down most of its operations and putting them on temporary care and maintenance as lockdowns are enforced in various countries to slow the spread of Covid-19.
The London- and Johannesburg-listed company states that its goal is to operate only when it can keep its people safe and healthy, while safeguarding jobs and providing support to its local communities.
To date, Glencore’s larger operations have not been materially impacted; however a number of its smaller assets have had to restrict or stop operations.
On home soil, a national lockdown has taken place until April 16, and Glencore has consequently been engaging with the authorities to understand the impact of the 21 day lock-down on its operations.
In accordance with the guidance received from the authorities, Glencore has transitioned to care and maintenance at its ferroalloys operations in South Africa with effect from March 26.
Further, the majority of the miner’s South African coal operations are under contract to supply coal to national power utility Eskom under a variety of contracts, and during the lockdown Glencore we will continue to supply coal to Eskom as an essential service under the guidelines issued by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).
However, any export of coal will need to be approved by the DMRE and, therefore, with effect from March 27, Glencore’s Middleburg and Graspan coal operations will be on care and maintenance, supported by skeleton crews to maintain essential services.
In Canada, the government of Quebec has ordered all non-essential businesses to close. Accordingly, Glencore’s Raglan nickel and Matagami zinc operations in Quebec will, be on care and maintenance until about mid-April.
In Ontario, the government has issued a similar decree, but mining has been designated an essential business and therefore Glencore’s assets are continuing to operate.
In South America, a Presidentially imposed 19-day quarantine for the country has been imposed from March 25, thereby closing all non-essential businesses.
But while mining has been exempted from the quarantine, Glencore notes that growing community tensions and restrictions on logistics have made it difficult to ensure the continued and safe operation of the miner’s Prodeco coal operation, as well as the security of its host communities.
Accordingly, Glencore has commenced with Prodeco’s transition to care and maintenance.
However, the port will continue to operate.
In Central Africa, Glencore’s wholly-owned subsidiary, PetroChad Mangara (PCM) has taken steps to commence ceasing production at its Badila and Mangara oilfields, as a results of disruptions to international mobility, transportation and supply chains.
The facilities at these oilfields will be secured and remain on care and maintenance while PCM monitors the situation.
The transition to care and maintenance of these operations is expected to be completed towards the end of April.
Further, in terms of other office operations and industrial assets that are continuing to operate, Glencore has implemented various additional precautionary measures to protect its employees.
“We have introduced a number of precautionary measures across our offices and industrial assets in response to Covid-19. This includes the implementation of enhanced hygiene and cleaning measures, application of social distancing and identification of higher risk groups,” Glencore says in a statement.