“The mining and metals sector continues to grapple with the impact of government COVID-19 mandates on supply chains, parts and consumables,” says Jay Patel, EY Canada Mining & Metals Transactions Leader. “Companies are implementing their own measures to protect their employees and ensure business continuity by placing mines into care and maintenance, reducing operations or shutting down altogether, which is having a major impact on supply.”
Despite Canadian Mining Eye index declines, gold prices continued upward with a 6% increase following a 3% gain in Q4 2019 — following a common pattern seen when currency declines in a crisis. Though prices have been volatile, gold reached a seven-year high in Q1 2020 and is expected to maintain growth momentum, supported by the slowdown in global markets and declining interest rates.
Base metals, on the other hand, haven’t fared as well in the current landscape. Nickel prices decreased a further 18% after a 19% decline in the previous quarter. While copper and zinc prices witnessed respective declines of 20% and 17%.
“The suspension or reduction of global business activity in automotive and construction sectors is lowering demand and pegging uncertainty on the outlook for copper, nickel and zinc,” says Jeff Swinoga, EY Canada Mining & Metals Co-Leader. “Base metals, for the most part, are expected to remain under pressure in short-term, but the full scale of the impact remains unclear as the pandemic continues.”