BHP says no hit to operations so far from coronavirus

La Escondida mine (Photo: BHP)

BHP Group said on Thursday its operations had not been materially impacted so far by the coronavirus pandemic and that it had implemented additional procedures to prevent the spread of the disease among its employees.

“BHP supply chains are still open and we currently have adequate supplies to operate and maintain critical equipment,” chief executive Mike Henry said, adding that he was encouraged by increased activity in China, the world’s top metals consumer.

The miner had warned last month that demand for iron ore could take a hit this year if the fallout from the pandemic in China extended beyond March.

The company has banned international business travel for all its employees, one among many steps to try and mitigate risk to workers, and is also testing business continuity plans at several sites and offices.

On Wednesday, unionized workers at BHP´s Escondida copper mine in Chile, the world’s largest, said they would ask authorities to shut down the mine unless management began implementing stricter measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

(By Shashwat Awasthi; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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