South Africa’s mining production decreased by 1.1% year-on-year in December, Statistics South Africa’s data shows.
The largest negative contributors were gold (-15.3% and contributing -2.4 percentage points); coal (-8.1% and contributing -1.9 percentage points); manganese ore (-10.8% and contributing -1.1 percentage points); and iron-ore (-7.4% and contributing -1.0 percentage point).
Platinum group metals, or PGMs (24.4% and contributing 5.3 percentage points) was a significant positive contributor.
Total mining production for the full year was, however, 11.2% higher year-on-year.
This followed a decrease of 10.6% recorded for 2020 and a decrease of 1% in 2019.
Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted mining production decreased by 5.3% in December compared with November.
This followed month-on-month changes of -3.3% in November and 2.8% in October.
Seasonally adjusted mining production decreased by 3.5% in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the third quarter of 2021.
The largest negative contributors were iron-ore (-15.5% and contributing -1.8 percentage points); gold (-7.7% and contributing -1.1 percentage points); and coal (-4.2% and contributing -1.1 percentage points).
Mineral sales at current prices increased by 10.7% year-on-year in December.
The largest positive contributors were PGMs (34.4% and contributing 10.5 percentage points); coal (28.8% and contributing 5.1 percentage points); ‘other’ non-metallic minerals (104.5% and contributing 2.9 percentage points); and manganese ore (28.0% and contributing 1.4 percentage points).
Iron-ore (-30.3% and contributing -5.7 percentage points) and gold (-25.8% and contributing -3.8 percentage points) were significant negative contributors.
Total mineral sales for 2021 were 39.1% higher than in 2020. This followed increases of 10.1% in 2020 and 10.8% in 2019.
Seasonally adjusted mineral sales at current prices decreased by 9.3% in December compared with November.
This followed month-on-month changes of 5.4% in November and 11.5% in October.
Commenting on the statistics, Nedbank Group Economic Unit said the impact of the Omicron variant and associated lockdowns across the globe was evident in the December numbers, with lower production and sales from a month earlier.
“The surge in output during 2021 is unlikely to be repeated this year, mainly due to easing commodity prices and softer global demand, particularly from China.
“Furthermore, unreliable electricity supply, wage disputes and developments of new Covid-19 variants also pose significant downside risks to the outlook.
“However, a weakening rand exchange rate will provide some buffer to profit margins,” it notes. – (Mining Weekly)