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South African ports to close for mineral exports, disrupting copper supply chain

JOHANNESBURG, March 26 (Reuters) - South Africa's main export terminals will be closed to mineral exports from midnight on Thursday when a nationwide 21-day lockdown over coronavirus begins, disrupting copper supply chains linking major producer Zambia to Asian consumers.

Miners in the Zambian copper belt typically transport copper overland to South Africa's ports, where it is exported mainly to China, the world's biggest consumer of the metal.

"All bulk terminals (mineral mining commodities) will be closed," a note from Transnet Port Terminals read, according to a shipping agent. Contacted by Reuters, Transnet Port Terminals did not immediately confirm that mineral commodities would not be exported. (Reporting by Helen Reid, Zandi Shabalala, Tanisha Heiberg; additional reporting by Jonathan Saul; editing by Jason Neely)