The latest mining production stats for this have been released by South Africa, but not everything is “golden” for the industry. One of the country’s biggest sectors is suffering from a slump in its year-on-year performance, decreasing by 1.5% from May 2018 – May 2019.
After a pretty glum start to the year, things haven’t really got going for the mining industry, which acts as a backbone to the nation’s economy. In March, the annual comparison was down by 0.9%. That worsened to -1.2% in April, before the release of May’s data from StatsSA on Thursday.
But where is the battle being won and lost? We’ve picked out the key findings from the report, which gives us some pretty unflinching information about which metals and minerals are having a tough time:
Mining industry in South Africa for 2019
- Diamonds: Production down by -30.7% (contributing -1.7 percentage points to the industry overall).
- Gold: Production down by -24.4% (contributing -3,3 percentage points to the industry overall).
- Iron ore: Production down by -5.2% (contributing -0.7 percentage points to the industry overall).
- Chromium: Production stats not confirmed (but thought to be contributing -4.9 percentage points to the industry overall).
- ‘Other’ metallic minerals: Production down by -9.8% (contributing -0,6 percentage points to the industry overall).
Less gold, diamonds being produced in South Africa
The stats could have been much worse if it hadn’t been for other traditional industries pulling their weight: Coal (+8%), PGMs (6.8%) and Manganese Ore (29.3%) all racked up some big gains in their annual performances.
Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted mineral sales at current prices decreased by 0,9% in May 2019 compared with April 2019. This followed month-on-month changes of 1,5% in April 2019 and 8,2% in March 2019.
— Stats SA (@StatsSA) July 11, 2019
No-one’s having a good time, here
This comes exactly one week after StatsSA released some concerning figures earlier on our electricity output. They outlined the issues with electricity generation, showing both annual and monthly decreases. March was a particularly bruising month for the grid, as Stage 4 power outages plunged Mzansi into darkness.
In total, South Africa is producing 0.6% less electricity than it was a year ago. At the end of last month, we also learned that the average wage earned by South Africans is dropping. So those of us who can actually afford to buy gold and diamonds better do it while there’s money in the bank, or before the country runs out of the resource.*
*No, this isn’t bonafide financial advice.