The Cerro Verde copper mine in Peru has been put in care and maintenance status for 15 days to help contain COVID-19.
The maintenance period began March 16 when the Peruvian government issued a supreme decree and declared a national emergency, Freeport-McMoRan, which owns 53.56pc of the mine, said in a statement.
On-site personnel will be limited to critical maintenance activities during the 15-day period.
In 2019, Cerro Verde produced 1bn lb (453,592mt) of copper and 29mn lb of molybdenum. The mine also has one of the world’s largest concentrating facilities.
Cerro Verde will work closely with government authorities to resume operations as quickly as possible, said Freeport-McMoRan’s statement.
The Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers recently asked mining companies to maintain limited activities, including controlling energy supply systems, operating water treatment plants, and controlling drainage systems and ventilation in underground mines.
Anglo American also announced Tuesday it was ceasing construction at its Quellaveco Copper Project in Peru after the government imposed a 15-day national quarantine to contain COVID-19’s spread. The miner has temporarily withdrawn its employees and contractors from the site and indicated there will be a considerable slowdown in the project while the ban was in place.
Sierra Metals also announced Tuesday that it has suspended operations at its Yauricocha Mine for 15 days, following the Peruvian government’s decree. The company will keep 150 emergency staff on-site, but has sent 470 other employees home. The company added that its 2020 production guidance remains unchanged for the time being, especially because Yauricocha is running ahead of budget. The mine’s processing mill presently has about 37,000mt of stockpiled ore.