Lundin suspends construction at Portugal zinc project, confirms Covid-19 case in Chile

16th March 2020 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Deputy Editor Online

Lundin suspends construction at Portugal zinc project, confirms Covid-19 case in Chile

The Neves-Corvo operation, in Portugal.

Toronto-headquartered Lundin Mining has suspended construction and commissioning activities at the Zinc Expansion Project (ZEP) at the Neves-Corvo operation, in Portugal, to reduce the risk of its workforce and the local community contracting the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) disease.

Announcing the decision on Sunday, Lundin explained that the workforce for the project included many contract employees who travelled from other regions of Portugal and internationally.

“The risk is that the virus could be brought to the Alentejo region by people travelling to come to work on our project. The health and safety of our local communities, employees and contractors is of utmost importance so we have taken this step to reduce the risks to them and to lower the risk of significant disruption to the business,” said Lundin president and CEO Marie Inkster in a statement. 

On Sunday, Portugal had 245 confirmed cases of Covid-19, which had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Globally, about 152 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 had been reported, with deaths approaching 5 800.

Lundin said it was assessing the impacts of the temporary suspension of the project on the timelines and budget and would provide an update once the assessments have been completed.

The project is currently estimated to cost €380-million and will lift the Neves-Corvo mine’s zinc production to more than 180 000 t/y.

Further, Lundin said that one of its employees at the Candelaria operation, in Chile, had tested positive for Covid-19. The employee was on holiday abroad, but had not been to work or the site since returning to Chile.

The miner said all nonbusiness critical travel had been curtailed since March 2. Employees or contractors who have had incidental contact or exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, as well as those who have travelled internationally, had been instructed to stay at home for 14 days regardless of whether they were showing symptoms.

It also confirmed that there had been no material impact on production or shipment of concentrate from any of the company’s operations to date as a result of Covid-19. There has also not been a significant disruption to the supply chain of the operations.

Lundin has operations in Brazil, Chile, Portugal, Sweden and the US, primarily producing copper, zinc, gold and nickel.