A census by Statistics SA (Stat SA) showed that 23 285 jobs were lost in mining between 2012 and 2019. Stats SA said the mining industry employed 514 859 individuals in 2019 down from 538 144 in 2012. Photo: Supplied
A census by Statistics SA (Stat SA) showed that 23 285 jobs were lost in mining between 2012 and 2019. Stats SA said the mining industry employed 514 859 individuals in 2019 down from 538 144 in 2012. Photo: Supplied

There is a jobs bloodbath in mining, says Stats SA

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Sep 15, 2021

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A CENSUS by Statistics SA (Stat SA) showed that 23 285 jobs were lost in mining between 2012 and 2019. Stats SA said the mining industry employed 514 859 individuals in 2019 down from 538 144 in 2012.

“The biggest losses in jobs were recorded in mining of gold and uranium ore,” said Stats SA. Gold and uranium ore lost a total of 42 091 jobs.

A total of 8 190 jobs were lost in mining of platinum group metals (PGM), while 4 249 jobs were lost in other stone quarrying, including stone crushing and clay and sandpits.

StatsSA said employment figures from the report show that the mining workforce expanded by 3 737 individuals in the 2015 and 2019 period.

“A closer look shows that this increase in employment was due to a rise in the number of employees from subcontractors and labour brokers.

“The number of capital employees – individuals working on projects that fall outside the daily scope of business – also increased over this period,” said StatsSA.

Stats SA said the biggest gains in jobs were recorded in “mining of coal and lignite” with a gain of 17 112 jobs and “other mining activities and service activities incidental to mining”, a gain of 5 081 jobs.

“If the mining sector is represented by a group of 100 workers, 39 are employed in the platinum group metals sector, 21 in the coal sector and 20 in the gold sector.

“The iron ore sector is a much smaller recruiter, employing five of every 100 employees. The remaining 15 employees work across smaller operations, which include the production of other minerals, lime works and stone quarrying,” said Stats SA.

Stats SA recently reported that PGM, for the first time in a decade, had overtaken coal as the most significant contributor to total mining sales. This was largely due to the rise in the prices of palladium and rhodium, which pushed up sales.

Stats SA said the value of palladium sales increased by R23.4 billion and rhodium by R15.7bn in 2019, compared with 2015.

Rhodium and palladium have hit record highs, given that they are essential in the production of catalytic converters that reduce pollution in gasoline vehicles.

Stats SA said its data showed that South Africa was producing less palladium and rhodium than it did in 2015, showing the extent to which prices had driven sales growth.

In terms of income, Stats SA said total income from sales of goods in the mining industry increased from R426bn in 2015 to R527.5bn in 2019, an annualised growth rate of 5.5 percent. Northern Cape had the largest annualised increase followed by Limpopo and North West. The industry’s

R527.5bn in total sales in 2019 was dominated by the export sales of manganese ore followed by coal sales.

Stats SA said South African coal production amounted to 306 million metric tons in 2019.

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