Six workers at Fortuna Silver Mines’ Peruvian operation test positive for covid-19

Worker at the Caylloma operation. (Image courtesy of Fortuna Silver Mines).

Six workers at Fortuna Silver Mines’ (NYSE: FSM) Caylloma operation in southern Peru tested positive for covid-19 and have been isolated in a special area while being monitored by medical personnel.

The information was made public by Fortuna’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Minera Bateas. According to the miner’s communiqué, following the identification of the six cases, all workers and subcontractors currently active at Caylloma went through a rapid testing process to rule out additional infections.     

Located at an elevation of 4,500 meters, Caylloma is the sixth-highest mine in the world

The company also said that it has followed up with those who may have been in contact with the people infected and has proceeded to disinfect the areas where the testing took place.

Since mid-March, Minera Bateas has been operating only with essential personnel at Caylloma, having demobilized non-critical staff to comply with the regulatory framework issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Interior Ministry amidst the covid-19 pandemic.

The subsidiary of Canada’s Fortuna Silver Mines has also banned the movement of people in and out of the operation, while those who are allowed to return to their homes are tested before they do so.

Workers still active at Caylloma are drawing ore from coarse ore stockpiles. According to Fortuna, the mine produced 249,111 ounces of silver in the first quarter of 2020, 17% above budget. Average head grade for silver was 70 g/t.

Lead and zinc production, on the other hand, was 7,722,793 pounds and 11,821,186 pounds, 17% and 3% above budget respectively. Average head grades for lead and zinc were 2.96% and 4.58%.

Caylloma is a gold, lead, silver, and zinc mine located approximately 225 kilometres northwest of the city of Arequipa. Its mill operates at a rate of 1,430 tpd with production sourced primarily from the silver-polymetallic Animas Vein.

The deposits in the Caylloma Mining District have been mined intermittently for over 500 years since the times of the Inca Empire.