Anglo American rescheduling Chile operations to combat coronavirus
Anglo American is following advice from government and health authorities in its operating jurisdictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and implementing additional measures across its offices and operations; guided by the World Health Organisation and national public health authorities.
Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American, commented: “We are taking all appropriate measures, often tailored to the specific nature and location of a particular site, to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of our people and all those who interact with our business around the world.
“The nature of our business is such that much of our work cannot be done remotely, so our focus is on reducing the risk of the virus spreading into and across our sites. Operational continuity is critical for jobs, for the communities around our operations and for the local and global economies. Our sites and offices therefore have escalation plans to accommodate the ongoing impact of the pandemic and these will continue to be revised as the situation evolves.
“We recognise that this is a fast changing and stressful situation for everyone and we know that we all have our part to play to help each other through the pandemic and be ready for when we emerge on the other side.”
Anglo American has a designated senior multi-disciplinary team in place that is monitoring the situation across its operating countries and sites to update its decisions in response to the disease and to plan for a range of scenarios. This team provides advice to the operating businesses and provides regular updates to Anglo American’s Chief Executive and Group Management Committee.
Currently all of the company’s mines are operational, with no material impact on production, with supply chains functioning well as a result of ongoing proactive engagement with key supply partners. At certain operations, such as those in Chile, Anglo is taking measures to temporarily reschedule operational work in order to help reduce the density of people on site and with it reduce the probability of the virus spreading. Such actions are designed to minimise any impact on production volumes and on deliveries of metals and minerals to customers.
Mark Cutifani added: “Global markets are reflecting the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 through unprecedented volatility. This tends to mask the fundamental drivers of supply and demand, which we believe remain robust in the medium and longer term for the metals and minerals that we produce. As certain countries recover from the pandemic, we expect to see economic activity ramp back up, supported by stimulus from governments and central banks.”
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DRC selects Fortescue to develop giant hydro project
Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC's) government said on Tuesday Fortescue Metals Group would develop the Grand Inga hydroelectric power project, including a 4,800-megawatt dam that has already been committed to Chinese and Spanish developers.
Fortescue to develop dams for world's largest hydroelectric project
Australia's Fortescue confirmed it was in talks with Congo to develop a series of dams that could become the world's largest hydroelectric project, but it said no formal binding agreement had been concluded.
Fortescue's involvement is the latest twist in Congo's decades-long quest to expand Inga, whose two existing dams - completed in 1972 and 1982 - have a combined installed capacity of nearly 1,800 MW.
The proposed expansion of six more dams would bring capacity to over 40,000 MW, roughly double the size of China's Three Gorges dam, currently the world's largest. Total development costs have been estimated at up to $80bn.
In 2018, a Chinese consortium that includes China Three Gorges Corporation and a Spanish consortium that includes AEE Power signed a deal with Congo's government to develop the third dam, known as Inga 3.
Ground has yet to be broken on Inga 3 because of questions over its financial viability. Alexy Kayembe De Bampende, President Felix Tshisekedi's top infrastructure advisor, said the project would now be led by Fortescue.
"Fortescue will be the sole operator for the entire Grand Inga (3 to 8). Chinese & co are welcome to join Fortescue," he told Reuters."There has been discussion between Chinese (Three Gorges) & AEE and (Fortescue) since last year to work together."
Three Gorges and AEE Power did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
DRC's Grand Inga green energy project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs
In a memorandum of understanding signed between Fortescue and Congo in September 2020, Fortescue "acknowledges the existing potential rights held on Inga 3 by third parties".
"In the event that, for any reason, such rights to develop Inga 3 become available, the government of the DRC undertakes to secure for Fortescue Future Industries an exclusive first option to develop Inga 3," it said.
A senior official at the government's Agency for the Development and Promotion of Grand Inga (ADPI), speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ADPI had not been involved in the talks with Fortescue.
Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest met Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Sunday to discuss the project. Forrest said Fortescue would use the energy from Inga to produce hydrogen to export around the world.
"The capital cost of this will be many many tens of billions of dollars and direct and indirect employment will be in the hundreds of thousands," he told reporters.
Fortescue has said it plans to fund the majority of its green energy projects off its balance sheet, investing about $1bn a year of its own money.
Fortescue's statement was made in response to an article in the Australian Financial Review.
Meanwhile, Fortescue has teamed up with Hatch, Anglo American and BHP, to form a Green Hydrogen Consortium focused on ways of using green hydrogen to accelerate decarbonisation within their operations globally.