Covid-19: Which mining economies will suffer most from the pandemic?
Monday, March 30th, 2020
As the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic shows no sign of slowing down, Mining Technology looks at some of the mining economies that will suffer from major virus outbreaks domestically, and the impact this could have on the global mining industry.
The coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has caused global stock markets to drop, commodity prices to tumble, and mine production outputs globally to take severe hits. With the outbreak likely to disrupt the global economy for several months, Mining Technology investigates the countries where a hit to the mining industry could be disastrous for the wider economy.
The Mining Contribution Index (MCI), compiled by the International Council of Mining and Minerals (ICMM), ranks the significance of the mining sector’s contribution to national economies. The most recent MCI was released in 2018 and shows that low to middle-income economies are largely dependent on the mineral sector.
According to the ICMM, MCI scores and rankings indicate the relative importance of mining to the economic life of a country; they are not a measure of success for the mining sector in those countries.Suriname
Suriname rose 46 places over the previous edition of the MCI, topping the ranking in 2018, caused by large increases in mineral rents and in metals and minerals production value since the 2016 edition of the report. Combined with a 38% decline in Suriname’s GDP, Suriname was able to overtake countries that historically held a greater role for mining in their economies.
Suriname’s main export commodities are gold and oil. There is one large-scale gold mine in Suriname, Rosebel, in which Canadian Iamgold owns a 95% stake, the remaining stake being held by the government of Suriname. The Rosebel gold mine began production in 2004, and by 2016 had produced 4.4Moz of gold.
Since 14 March 2020, Suriname’s borders and airports have been closed, following the first confirmed Covid-19 case in the country the day before. There are currently eight confirmed cases in the South American country.
The New York Times reports that falling prices for Suriname’s two main commodities over the past month has left the country without enough hard currency to pay off its debt and import basic goods. Iamgold announced this week that its Rosebel mine continues to operate but the site is moving to self-confinement to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading to the mine site.