April sees worst mining production on record

Picture: 123RF/TIMES 1111
Picture: 123RF/TIMES 1111

Mining production plummeted to it worst levels on record in April, as the Covid-19 lockdown weighed down the sector, data released by Stats SA showed on Wednesday.

 The release, which covers both March and April, is among the first concrete data points from the agency providing insight into how SA’s economy performed under the severest round of lockdown restrictions, which began on March 27 and ran throughout April.

Annual mining production fell 47.3% in April, the biggest fall in production since Stats SA’s mining series began in 1980. Mining production in March, however, contracted by 18% year on year from a revised 5.8% growth in February.

April’s decline was led by platinum group metals (PGMs), which declined 62%; iron ore, which declined by 68.7%; gold, which fell 59.6%; and manganese, which fell 57.6%.

All miners experienced a slowdown in production according to Juan-Pierre Terblanche, principal service statistician, with gold iron ore, copper, PGMs and nickel experiencing their worst year-on-year growth on record. 

Coal production was the least affected, he said, falling by 9.1% year on year. Certain coal mines that provide coal to power utility Eskom were deemed an essential service during the lockdown and were permitted to operate.

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