Bushveld Minerals: Covid-19 Update and Operation Halt

Bushveld Minerals Limited (AIM:BMN), the AIM-quoted, integrated primary¬†vanadium¬†producer which owns high-grade vanadium assets in South Africa, hereby provides an update on operations following the more stringent directives issued by South Africa’s Government on 23 March 2020 to deal with the global Covid-19 outbreak.
The measures include a 21-day National lockdown for all residents, to minimise movement of non-essential businesses and activities. A requirement is to put mining operations on care and maintenance with effect from midnight 26 March through to 16 April 2020.
As a result of the Government’s announcement we are making preparations to safely and efficiently put our Vametco operations and Vanchem facility on care and maintenance in such a manner as to be able to safely and timely ramp up our operations and safeguard the long term sustainability of our business at the end of the period.
Full Year 2020 guidance for both Vametco and Vanchem, announced to the market in the Full Year 2019 and Q4 2019 Operational Update on 30 January 2019, will be under review. We are assessing the financial impact and will update the market in due course.
To date our supply chains have continued to operate as normal with deliveries of product continued around the world, while the Company’s ability to source consumables and equipment has not been affected to any material degree.
The welfare of our employees and communities is a top priority at Bushveld Minerals, and over the past few weeks we established a Task Team to assist develop a comprehensive cross-functional response to the pandemic. A number of awareness, prevention, risk mitigation and strategies have been developed and are being implemented.
We have been following and will continue to follow the advice from South Africa’s Government, and we will continue to engage with the Government, to obtain further detail on permitted activities during this period.
With regards to the vanadium market outlook, the virus has had a negative effect on the global growth outlook. Having said that, China has shown signs of recovery since the government lifted the lockdown put in place to halt the spread of the virus.
Fortune Mojapelo, Chief Executive Officer of Bushveld Minerals Limited, commented:
“Having witnessed health systems of more developed first world countries get overwhelmed by the pandemic with tragic consequences, South Africa’s decisive and bold intervention announced by the government this early in the epidemic’s cycle is an existential necessity. It is costly. Yet the costs of inaction are unimaginable.
I am encouraged by the comprehensive set of measures, including fiscal ones, that will help cushion both employers and employees.
I am pleased that our Covid-19 Task Team has shown tremendous leadership in ensuring that the Company is best prepared to weather this storm through a comprehensive awareness, prevention, and intervention programme, which includes critical business continuity measures to ensure that once the lock down passes we are able to ramp up our production quickly. An important priority of the Company is to ensure that the company’s cash reserves and available facilities available to it are sufficient to not only see the company through the lockdown period but ensure a speedy ramp up once the lock down period ends.
We continue to evaluate our response to maximise the safety of our workers; ensure minimal disruption to our operations and where such disruption is unavoidable, as in this case, to ensure the company is in a financially sound enough condition to weather the storm. This will pass and I am confident when it has passed Bushveld Minerals will still be standing and continuing on its strategic path.”