Mining production falls for a third consecutive month
JOHANNESBURG - Mining production fell for a third month in a row in October, declining by 2.9 percent year on year in October, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Thursday.
Stats SA said on that diamonds, platinum group metals (PGMs), and manganese were the biggest drags on overall production.
Copper and diamonds were down 41.4 percent and 39.9 percent, respectively, while manganese declined by 12.5 percent.
Stats SA said PGMs declined by 4.8 percent, chromium was down 2 percent, coal fell by 1.5 percent, and gold went down 1.2 percent.
The only positives came from iron ore and nickel, which rose 11.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.
The mining print was forecast to show a weak start to the fourth quarter period after having contracted by 6.1 percent in the previous quarter.
The mining industry has been severely hampered by Eskom’s rotational power cuts, which hampered all prospects that gold and platinum producers had been enjoying on the back of higher metal prices.
Impala Platinum, for one, has lost R120 million from the closure of its Rustenburg and Marula mines during power cuts.
Harmony Gold this week also had to suspend underground operations for two nights at its nine South African mines in response to an urgent request from Eskom for power usage to be reduced to levels required only for the maintenance of essential services.
Load shedding is threatening to push South Africa’s already weak economy into recession and force credit ratings agencies to downgrade the country’s sovereign rating status to junk.