The COVID-19 Pandemic and Mineral Resources
July 16, 2020
Pandemics are one of the few events that are truly global and affect all of humanity. Even World Wars I and II, as terrible and far-reaching as they were, did not affect all corners of the globe, and certainly not equally. Pandemics are different, especially in light of modern transportation and the interconnectedness of global business, education, and supply chains. One does not have to be a major participant in the global economy or even be aware of the disease at all to be affected, infected, or possibly killed.
Although the long-term effects of COVID-19 are not yet known, there are few in the minerals sector who have not been affected, whether it be by the loss of a loved one or by the economic fallout of attempts to contain the disease. Many universities and mines are closed, research and exploration budgets curtailed, and most travel halted. At the time of writing, no one knows how the pandemic will evolve—are we past the worst of it or are there new waves coming?
Below are two rapid-response articles from SEG Discovery provided as open access to offer a preliminary assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the minerals industry and all of us who are connected to it. The first article, by Hitzman et al., reports the results of a survey about the pandemic's effects on the lives, education, and business of people in the minerals industry. Although necessarily limited in scope, it provides a snapshot in time that sets the stage for the second article, by Simon Jowitt, that offers a preliminary economic analysis of possible effects on prices, stocks, and supply and demand within the minerals industry.
The phrase "the new normal" has been used frequently to describe the effects and after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following two studies are complementary and provide a framework for assessing where we are today and for beginning the process of planning for the future. Although it is likely that both articles would be written differently a year or two from now, they are presented here while the pandemic is still unfolding to provide the view from July 2020.
Jean Cline, President, Society of Economic Geologists
Lawrence D. Meinert, Editor, Economic Geology
Open Access Articles from SEG Discovery
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Minerals Sector: A Real Time Survey (Murray Hitzman et al.)
COVID-19 and the Global Mining Industry (Simon M. Jowitt)
Download Both Articles