SA mining output plummets 28% in June

A mine worker walks towards a shaft at Cullinan mine, near Pretoria, South Africa.

A mine worker walks towards a shaft at Cullinan mine, near Pretoria, South Africa.

Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's mining output fell 28.2% year-on-year in June, StatSA said Thursday, edging up only slightly as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hamper economic activity.

In May, production was down 29.8-percent from 12 months earlier.

Major drops were in the platinum group metals as well as iron ore and coal, according to StatsSA.

Mineral sales also decreased by 14.2-percent year-on-year in June with the biggest drops in gold, followed by coal, other non-metallic minerals and platinum group metals.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown regulations since 27 March 2020 have had an extensive impact on economic activity," StatsSA said.

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April, the first full month of the highest level of lockdown, was the worst-performing, recording a 47% plunge in production when all mines except those supplying coal to state electricity producer Eskom were closed.

In May mines were allowed to resume production at 50% capacity.

South Africa boasts some of the world's richest deposits of precious minerals and base metals.

Mining is a critical cog in South Africa's already struggling economic machine, contributing 8% to overall gross domestic product and bringing in 45% of foreign exchange earnings.

Mines are also one of the largest employers, with nearly half a million workers.

Source
AFP