Silver production hit hardest by COVID-19 shutdowns, report finds

The silver mining industry has been the hardest hit of all commodities by national lockdown orders around the world to counter the spread of COVID-19.

A report conducted by GlobalData has found that nearly 66% of the world’s annual silver output is still on hold following the temporary suspension of mining operations in 32 countries that have passed partial or complete lockdown orders.

Activities had been halted at over 1,600 mines as of April 3, though that number has since dropped down to 729 as restrictions have begun to ease in certain areas over the last few weeks.

In the silver sector, producers such as First Majestic Silver, Hochschild Mining, Hecla Mining and Endeavour Silver have all withdrawn their production guidance for 2020 in the wake of the virus outbreak.

The next commodities most impacted by production disruptions were uranium (32%), zinc (23.8%), platinum (19.5%), nickel (14.6%), diamond (14.4%) and copper (12.7%), according to GlobalData.

Gold production is down only 9% and the precious metal has seen its price rise throughout the outbreak due to its reputation as a safe haven investment.

Lockdowns remain in force in major mining jurisdictions such as Peru, Mexico, Bolivia and Namibia. Meanwhile, mines in Quebec, India, Argentina, Zimbabwe and South Africa are restarting on the basis of mining being an essential service.