DENVER – Newmont Corp. is ramping down operations at its Penasquito Mine in Mexico because of new restrictions by the Mexican government due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company reported it is taking steps for a safe and orderly suspension after the government published a decree mandating the temporary suspension of all non-essential activities until April 30 as part of the nationwide effort to slow the global pandemic. Mining is not considered essential at this time, Newmont stated.
Newmont has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, but “we have proactively implemented rigorous and wide-ranging controls at all of our sites around the globe to protect our workforce and neighboring communities from contracting or transmitting the disease,” said Newmont President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Palmer.
“We will, of course, comply with Mexico’s latest directive while engaging with the government to gain further clarity regarding important activities that may continue at the mine. In the meantime, we will ensure Penasquito remains well-positioned to safely and efficiently ramp up operations in a timely manner once the government’s directive is lifted,” Palmer said in the April 1 announcement.
The company had earlier implemented protective measures at the mine that included taking temperatures of employees before they entered the site; social distancing; working from home where possible; closing offices in Mexico City, Monterrey and Zacatecas; having older and high-risk workers stay home; educating employees about COVID-19; donating protective equipment and 500 COVID-19 tests to Zacatecas authorities; and donating sanitation kits to local communities.
Newmont stated that it can’t at this time determine the impact of the ramp-down on Penasquito’s gold production and 2020 costs.
Newmont reported on March 23 that it was placing four mines in Canada, Argentina and Peru on care and maintenance because of the coronavirus pandemic and was withdrawing its earlier forecast for gold production this year.
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