London Mining Builds Treatment Center to Fight against Ebola Virus
London Mining (LSE:LOND) is turning a negative into a positive.
The London listed company, which is on the brink of collapse due to declining iron ore prices and the outbreak of the Ebola virus, is transitioning its struggling Marampa iron ore mine into a treatment center to fight the spread of the disease in Sierra Leone.
“We believe it is our duty to provide what help we can to stem the spread of this disease,” said Dan Desjardins, managing director for London Mining.
The heavily-indebted company is constructing a 130-bed center near its Marampa mine, which currently employs 1,400 people, and donating over $165,000 to fight Ebola.
“I salute all our employees for their dedication and contribution in creating what is now an important part of Sierra Leone’s economy and ongoing development,” said Graeme Hossie, London Mining’s chief executive
“I also applaud them for the ongoing leadership role our team has played within the private sector in Sierra Leone in helping address the challenges of the current Ebola crisis. The Marampa mine retains excellent fundamentals and it is our sincere wish for it to find the appropriate financial support to continue operating over the longer term.”
London Mining, whose only operating mine is in Sierra Leone, reported a first-half loss due to a drop in iron ore prices and said the outbreak of the virus across West Africa could hurt production in the second half.
The outbreak, which has been rampant in Sierra Leone, has the ability to cost companies an additional $1 per ton of iron ore produced in 2014 and force a reduction in drilling,” according to London Mining.
The disease, along with the continual decline in iron ore prices, has essentially put London Mining on life support.
The company’s financial woes have toppled over as administrators at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) have taken over the company after failing to find a buyer to bridge the funding gap for its Marampa mine in Sierra Leone. The group has already held “advanced discussions” with several potential buyers, and hopes it will lead to a sale that can be concluded quickly.
“The collapse in iron ore prices and the resulting impacts on this business have been very dramatic. Our focus is to ensure that a buyer is found for the Marampa mine operations given it is such an important part of the Sierra Leone economy,” said Russell Downs, joint administrator and partner at PwC.
“We are liaising with key stakeholders and asking for a short window of forbearance as we look to conclude a transaction.”
The potential downfall of the London Mining has raised fears about international efforts to combat Ebola, which has already claimed 4,500 lives in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
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.