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Antaike Investigation: production of domestic lead and zinc mines under the current epidemic

2020-02-12 11:16:08

Beijing, February 12 (Antaike)--To better understand the production of domestic lead and zinc mines under the current novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP), Antaike has investigated nearly 70 mines covering 19 provinces and regions, concerning zinc concentrate capacity of 2.25Mt (metal tonne) and lead concentrate capacity 810kt, which accounts for 54% and 41% of total capacity.


Mines under production are in normal production, these had already stopped production delayed time to work


According to Antaike’s investigation, most lead and zinc mines were in production as usual during the Spring Festival holiday, especially large mines that had relatively stable and simple staff structure, the epidemic had little influence on them, but to control the spread of epidemic, they cut the number of staff going under mines, therefore utilization rates declined to some extent. Normal production is common among them.


Mines that had already stopped production or conducted maintenance during the Spring Festival holiday were indeed affected by NCP. As usual, some mines take maintenance during the holiday and will resume to production 15 days after the holiday. But this year, production resumption faced some problems such as government control and staff hard to get back to work due to the epidemic. Antaike knows that most mines are actively preparing to start work, but it takes time for them to resume to normal production pace, which might be the end of February or even later. In the severely hit areas like Hunan, Henan, Jiangsu, Shaanxi and Zhejiang, it is still unknown the exact time mines can resume to production and they have to wait for government approval. However, proportion of lead and zinc mines there are small, therefore influenced is limited.


In the north of Inner Mongolia, northeast and Tibet regions, some mines stop production due to weather reason and haven’t yet affected by NCP. Whether they will delay production depends on the changing circumstance of epidemic.


To sum up, about 68% zinc concentrate capacity and 53% lead concentrate capacity are in normal production after the outbreak of epidemic; about 25% mines delay production, of which 16% zinc capacity and 14% lead capacity have already resumed production or prepared to resume production, 8% zinc capacity and 13% lead capacity haven’t resumed production. Besides, another 8% zinc capacity and lead capacity stopped production in accordance with companies’ plan.



Transportation of raw materials and products is difficult


The epidemic has more impact on transportation than production. Domestic mines rely more on road transportation than trail and waterway. Mines expressed inter-province and inter-city transportation was blocked, and it was hard to sell concentrate, meanwhile raw materials were difficult to obtain, therefore mines having rail transportation were influenced less severely.


Strict control on staff turnover limits operation of mines


Besides requirements of local governments, mines face another prominent problem-the tight staff supply. Underground mining needs many staff, but they have to be isolated by 14 days before work. What’s more, some mines have outsourcing engineering team, some of which are from Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, the badly hit area by NCP.


TC fluctuates on the falling concentrate supply


Domestic lead and zinc mine output will decrease due to the epidemic. According to Antaike’s investigation, zinc concentrate and lead concentrate output will shrink 24kt and 10kt respectively, most of which is from these mines that still haven’t resumed production.



Generally speaking, this epidemic has limited impact on domestic lead and zinc mine production, and total supply is steady. Transportation is a bigger problem. Smelters still have enough raw materials inventory owe to winter storage, but regional purchase will be tight in a short term. TC seems to be steady currently, but mines and smelters should well prepare for its fluctuation with the spread of epidemic.


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