COVID-19 is making its presence felt in the world’s mining industry in more ways than one, according to Reuters which said concerns about the fast-spreading virus had heavily disrupted proceedings at annual conferences including the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference (PDAC).
Mining executives have expressed fears that failing to contain COVID-19 will have a significant impact on metals and minerals demand globally. But in Toronto, where PDAC is set, miners slathered on hand sanitiser and avoided handshakes, said Reuters.
Chile’s mines minister doled out masks as coronavirus concerns overshadowed buyout buzz and prompted delegates to scrap some events.
On Monday, the CRU-Cesco World Copper Conference in Chile was canceled due to concerns over travel risks associated with the outbreak. On Sunday, IHS Markit scrapped one of the world’s most prestigious gatherings of oil ministers and top executives in Houston later this month.
Coronavirus has infected around 85,000 and killed almost 3,000 people around the world. As of Sunday, Canada had confirmed 24 cases of the illness caused by the new coronavirus, but health officials said the risk to the public remained low, said Reuters.
Still, Mongolian officials on Sunday cancelled a planned PDAC investor forum and reception, citing increasing global concern about the virus’ spread.
“The MMHI has decided that it is best to avoid creating a potentially dangerous situation that increases the risk of transmission,” an official with the Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industry said via email, citing Mongolian government policy to combat spreading the virus.