April 29, 2020 / 5:59 PM / a month ago

Factbox: Disruptions to zinc and lead operations from coronavirus outbreak

LONDON (Reuters) - Government restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak have forced the closure of zinc and lead operations, mainly in South America, a major producer.

The shutdowns have raised expectations for a larger zinc surplus this year. Lead, mined alongside zinc which is used to galvanise steel, has also been hit by smelter shut downs.

A Reuters survey in April pegged this year’s zinc surplus at 335,000 tonnes, three times the 108,000-tonne excess expected in a January survey, while Refinitiv estimates the pandemic will reduce previously expected output by around 2%.

Below is a list of closures, suspensions and disruptions to zinc and lead operations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

April 14 - Newmont shuts its Peñasquito mine in Mexico. The operation, which primarily mines gold and silver, produced about 84,000 tonnes of zinc and 48,987 tonnes of lead last year.

April 13 - BHP and Teck Resources’ Antamina mine in Peru shuts for two weeks. The operation, which produces zinc as a byproduct, was expected to churn out about 500,000 tonnes of zinc this year.

On Wednesday, the mine said a date for a restart was uncertain.

March 26 - Glencore shuts its Matagami operation in Canada and says it could reopen before May 4. The operation produced 43,800 tonnes of zinc in 2019.

March 26 - Vedanta places its South African zinc operations including Gamsberg and Black Mountain mine under care and maintenance.

March 30 - Vedanta announces plans to shut its Skorpion zinc mine and refinery in Namibia by the end of April due to operational issues.

All three operations were set to produce at least 280,000 tonnes of zinc metal in the company’s financial year ending in March 2020.

March 26 - Recylex shuts its Weser-Metall lead production plant in Germany. It produces 130,000 tonnes of lead annually.

March 26 - Sumitomo Corporation suspends operations at San Cristobal mine in Bolivia.

March 24 - Hindustan Zinc Ltd halts all operations in India for a week.

March 18 - Nexa Resources temporarily closes its Cerro Lindo, Atacocha and El Porvenir mines in Peru. The mines produced a combined 198,000 tonnes of zinc and 45,000 tonnes of lead in 2019.

Feb 13 - Henan Yuguang Gold and Lead cuts output at its 300,000 tonne per year zinc smelter by 50%.

Reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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