The market for imported manganese mines, which was in a high and stable state this week, was broken by the South African president's request for an extension of the 14 blockade at 2: 00 a.m. on Friday April 10. Manganese ore traders closed one after another, but alloy prices hesitated slightly in the low price steel move set on Thursday.
After the news spread, the national manganese ore market was basically in a closed state, and the mood of waiting for the price increase next week was very obvious, and very few quotations were very confusing. Today, the highest quotation of Australian block 45.5% reached 60-70 yuan / tonnage, and manganese carbonate sinter reported 60 yuan / tonnage. The tentative quotation showed an extremely strong determination to raise prices, but the market did not make an effective deal.
According to SMM estimates, from the implementation of the ban in South Africa on March 26 to May 1, the impact of South African manganese ore supply to China is about 110-1.15 million tons (excluding: South Africa has been collected during the Hong Kong manganese mine can ship, about 4-5 ships, the maximum Chinese shipment volume can make up about 200000 tons), that is, China a month of South African manganese ore imports, has been 40 days of shipping calculation, South African manganese ore in China's actual supply gap will be reflected in mid-May.
It is alarming that many mines, not just manganese mines, are trying to negotiate with the South African government to resume some of their operations and transport. At the same time, the South African Minerals Council clearly instructed the operation following the further blockade of the mining industry after 16 April, noting that employment would be restored after an assessment of the health status of employees in accordance with the (WHO) agreement of the World Health Organization, mining operations would be based on the nature of the operation (ground or underground operations) and the availability of employees (depending on the lifting of travel restrictions from neighbouring countries). Appropriate restart procedures (similar to subsequent work procedures) appropriately expand any prolonged shutdown) and the spreading nature of the epidemic in South Africa.
SMM believes that the South African government attaches great importance to epidemic control and makes epidemic prevention and control a top priority, but there is the possibility of loosening restrictions on the subsequent blockade. Mining exports, as one of the country's most important sources of economy, a long and complete blockade is not conducive to the country's economic security and stability.
Annex: original statement of the South African Minerals Commission:
MINERALS COUNCIL POSITION ON THE RESUMPTION OF MINING OPERATIONS
The Minerals Council South Africa notes articles in the media regarding the resumption of mining operations after 16 April. The Minerals Council notes the following:
The Minerals Council and its members have been fully supportive of the current lock-down, with the bulk of industry operations having been shut down. Any exemptions have been granted on the basis of directives to continue operations (for example, coal operations supplying Eskom and the synfuel industry), certain strategic exports, smelters and refineries and limited surface operations, and care-and-maintenance activities. All exemptions have been sanctioned by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) under operating principles that are focussed on employee health as the priority.
The Minerals Council has been engaging with the DMRE and unions in recent days to establish a way forward on how to work safely under the constraints of COVID-19. The disease is likely to be with us for some months yet, with some experts indicating a likely peak in June this year.
It is certainly the industry's hope that the lock-down, which has come at great expense and sacrifice to so many South Africans, has indeed had the effect of flattening the curve. Certainly, initial indications are that it has done so, and at the very least it will give the country and companies time to put in place improved measures to proceed under our new reality.
When we do resume operations as an industry, it will not be business as usual.
But it is premature to comment on when such a resumption may be. This will depend on decisions that government as a whole will take on the approach following the end of the current lockdown period, and it will be within a holistic view of the entire economy. The mining sector will continue to abide by and support the positions taken by government in this regard.
When operations do resume, the industry will be well-placed to enter into this new phase of operating in a COVID-19 constrained environment.
Our approach to dealing with COVID-19 before the lock-down was risk-based, and it would continue to be so.
Employee health will be assessed at the resumption of operations in line with World Health Organization (WHO) protocols, including assessment of possible symptoms, travel history and recent contacts. Proper social distancing and face covers in some circumstances would be adhered to during this time.
Similarly, mining operations would scale up appropriately depending on the nature of the operation (surface or underground), the availability of employees (depending on travel restrictions being lifted from neigbouring countries), appropriate restart procedures (similar to those that would have been undertaken after any extended shut-down) and the nature of the spread of the epidemic in South Africa. The priority for all operations will be to:
Equip employees with the knowledge and means to be able to protect themselves and their families;
To put in place the systems and standard operating procedures that apply best practice knowledge on hygiene and social distancing;
To screen and detect employees who are ill, and provide for quarantine facilities where this is necessary;
To provide medical care for employees, and where possible, for families and communities as well.
The Minerals Council has developed standard operating procedures for the return to work and for measures at work. These are aligned with the guidance and stipulations of WHO, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), the Department of Health and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
In conclusion, the industry's approach remains an integrated holistic approach that recognises that fighting this disease is a national and industry imperative. We recognise and take pride in the industry's role as a significant contributor to the economy, and we will seek to make our contribution as best we can in the new reality