Picture: Bloomberg News
JOHANNESBURG - Statistics South Africa said yesterday that mining production increased 2.4 percent year on year in January and above market expectations of a 1% gain. 

On a monthly basis, mining output went up 1%, after a 3.8% decrease in December. 

The stats agency said production rose faster for iron ore which surged 25.1% from 15.9% in December, and diamonds, which increased 22.7% from 3.8%. 

In addition, output rebounded for coal which increased 2.7% compared to a decrease of 4.6% in the previous month. 

However, output declined for nickel in the period while it dropped further for platinum group metals which declined 13.6% from a decrease of 1.4% the prior month.  

Lara Hodes, an economist at Investec, said mining production lifted by 2.4% year-on-year in January, on the back of a strong contribution from iron ore. 

On Tuesday, Stats SA said the production rise of 2.5% year-on-year in January was the biggest since June 2016.