South Africa's gold output nearly halved in October from the same period last year, highlighting the impact of a wave of wildcat strikes that swept the sector, data showed on Tuesday,

Gold production in South Africa has sharply declined in the last seven years, knocking Africa's biggest economy off its perch as the world's top bullion producer, a position it held throughout most of the 20th century.

Statistics South Africa data showed gold production fell by 45.7 percent in volume in October, with total mineral production 7.7 percent lower compared with the same month last year.

Production of platinum group metals rose 17.6 percent after falling almost 18 percent in September because of labour unrest.

South Africa's gold and platinum producers were rocked this year by illegal strikes that resulted in over 50 people being killed, adding to the woes of an industry already battling with rising power and other costs and difficult depths. - Reuters