Mining plummets to three-year low

Mine workers' clothing. File picture
Mine workers' clothing. File picture
Image: Gallo Images/ iStockphoto

The mining sector plummeted in February to an almost threeyear low as the sector continues to battle headwinds.

Production has been hard hit in recent months by ongoing strikes in the gold mines led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), as well as slowing global growth.

Load-shedding has threatened to further dent the sector.

Mining production decreased three times more than expected, by 7.5% year on year in February, after a 3.3% contraction in January, data from Stats SA showed on Thursday.

This is the fourth consecutive contraction for the sector and the lowest level since March 2016.

Economists polled by Bloomberg expected a contraction of 2.5%.

Most sub-sectors reported lower production in February compared with a year earlier.

The largest contributors were diamonds, down 48.3%; gold, down 20.6%; and iron ore, down 20.7%.

Compared with January, mining production decreased by 1.5% in February.

Stats SA reports that its mining production index, which was set to 100 points in 2015, was 81 in February, down from 84.7 in January 2019 and 87.6 in February 2018.

The total sales of SA’s mining industry in February came to R38.62bn, a fall from R41.65bn in January but an increase from R34.91bn in February 2018.

Stats SA shows coal is SA’s biggest revenue earner, with sales of R11.55bn in February, then platinum group metals with sales of R7.1bn, and iron ore at R5.3bn. –