Industry Celebrates National Miners Day
The mining industry celebrated National Miners Day Saturday, marking the fifth annual observance to honor the contributions and sacrifices of miners past and present.
Designated by Congress in 2009, the date commemorates the worst industrial mine accident in American history when 362 miners were killed in an explosion at the No. 6 and No. 8 mines in West Virginia in 1907.
In addition to honoring miners, the day represents the importance the industry has on the U.S.
“When you look at the products produced as a result of the mining they do, you quickly come to realize the great importance miners are to our country,” said Joe Main, Assistant U.S. Labor Secretary for Mine Safety and Health.
“If it wasn’t for miners taking the raw materials from the earth and the conversion of those into productions, our everyday lives would be much different.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the industry plays a critical role in the quality of American lives.
“Coal, and the electricity generated by coal power, heat and power our homes, businesses and communities. Miners produce the gravel, crushed stone, tar, asphalt, road salt and cement beneath our nation’s highways. Bridges that span canyons and rivers are built with ores, rock and mineral products extracted by miners.”
MSHA has launched new efforts to protect miners including initiatives aimed at health and safety implementation. The organization’s outreach includes a new coal dust rule intended to prevent black lung disease, guarding and ladder safety for metal and nonmetal miners, and enhanced enforcement activities.
National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn released the following statement:
“The National Mining Association is proud to recognize America’s miners and their indispensable role in powering and building our nation. While one day each year is set aside to honor these highly skilled and dedicated professionals, every American can thank them every day for providing the energy, metals, minerals and materials essential for our way of life.
“Our miners take great pride in what they do, and rightfully so. They are the front-end of the supply chain for what every sector of our economy needs to succeed. Our nation depends upon them getting it done and getting it done right—safely, reliably and efficiently.
Copper production from top ten companies to increase by 3.8%
Copper production from the world’s top companies is set to increase by up to 3.8% this year, following a fall of 0.2% in 2020, GlobalData analysis reveals. Last year’s marginal slump saw production drop to 11.76 million tonnes (Mt).
The initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mining operations was immense, however, six of the ten largest copper producers succeeded in increasing output last year. In 2021, copper production from the top ten copper companies is expected to bounce back, rising by up to 3.8%, to reach 12.2Mt, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
The highest increase in copper production was by Canada’s First Quantum, which, despite all the challenges, reported 10.4% growth in 2020. The company’s Sentinel mine in Zambia and Cobre Panama were key contributors to this growth. While the latter remained under care and maintenance between April and August 2020, it delivered record production levels during the subsequent months.
Codelco, the world’s largest producer of the red metal used in electric vehicles, also bucked the trend.
Vinneth Bajaj, Associate Project Manager at GlobalData, commented: “Despite Codelco reporting over 3,400 active cases during July 2020, the company achieved 1.2% growth in its production in 2020. The company implemented a four-phase plan, as part of the COVID-19 measures, to ensure the health and safety of its employees, while also avoiding any significant impact to its copper output.”
Although the overall impact was minimal, declines in production were observed from Glencore (8.2%), Antofagasta (4.7%), BHP (3.9%) and Freeport McMoRan (1.3%). Reduced operational workforces due to COVID-19 measures, lower ore grades and production halts due to maintenance were the key disruptors to output during 2020.
The move towards electric vehicles and clean energy from renewables sources such as solar panels and wind turbines has driven the copper price to all-time highs. Copper has been among the best performers over the last month where metals ranging from aluminum to iron ore have surged to their highest prices in years. The rally is being fueled by stimulus measures, near-zero interest rates and signs that economies are recovering from the global pandemic.