Panoramic Resources Ltd has temporarily suspended operations at its Savannah Nickel Mine in the Kimberly region of Western Australia amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Although there were currently no cases of COVID-19 reported at the nickel mine, Panoramic said on Wednesday 15 April that the pandemic was adversely impacting operations including transportation, availability and cost of personnel, equipment and supplies at the site, and controls at site, particularly given the heightened sensitivity within the Kimberley region and communities close to the operation.
“This has been a difficult decision to take but is unquestionably the right one for the current operating environment and Panoramic’s particular circumstances,” commented Managing Director and CEO Victor Rajasooria. “We believe that it will protect the welfare of our staff and contractors, and the surrounding communities, as well as target the preservation of shareholder value through these difficult times. We greatly appreciate the support of all our stakeholders through this period in what is an incredibly challenging environment for them also.”
Essential services, safety and environmental monitoring will continue, with the underground operations to cease in an orderly manner and processing of ore expected to cease by the end of this week. In relation to the suspension of operations generally, Panoramic will be working with its employees and contractors to ensure this occurs consistent with relevant contractual entitlements and in a way that is the least disruptive in the circumstances.
Given these matters, Panoramic has also withdrawn its previously provided production and cost guidance for 2020.
Meanwhile, the company remains in discussions with a number of parties around required funding to support the ramp up for Savannah North.
The temporary suspension at the Savannah Nickel Mine will have the benefit of preserving cash whilst these funding options are progressed. During this period of operational suspension, Panoramic will continue to closely review its operating strategy to ensure that, when the restart of operations occurs, efficiency and profitability is optimised and a robust and appropriate funding structure is in place. In doing so, Panoramic intends to work closely with its lenders, contractors, suppliers and other business partners in order to determine the best path forward.
Panoramic has requested suspension of trading in its shares on the ASX until this review is complete and a funding pathway is finalised.