South Africa’s mining production increased by 6.7% year-on-year in July, from a revised increase of 4.7% in June – the third consecutive monthly increase, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Thursday.
Platinum-group metals (PGMs) output increased by 11.7% year-on-year, while manganese ore and iron-ore production climbed 33.4% and 24.7% respectively. Gold output declined 5% year-on-year.
The improved PGMs performance is unlikely to be repeated in the August report, as volatile strikes and general unrest hit the troubled platinum sector last month.
The Lonmin strike, which left 45 dead at Marikana, has now also spread to Anglo American Platinum’s Rustenburg operations.
Nedbank said in a statement that supply disruptions related to the Marikana difficulties, as well as softer commodity prices and generally difficult operating conditions would undermine the performance of mining production in the months to come.
Meanwhile, Stats SA stated that actual mining production increased by 4.2% for the three months ended July, compared with the same three months in the prior year.
The seasonally adjusted value of mineral sales at current prices reflected a decrease of 2.7% in the second quarter of 2012, compared with the first quarter of 2012.
The 2.7% decline, which translates to a loss of R2.54-billion, was mainly owing to decreases in the sales value of PGMs (contributing -2.6 percentage points or -R2.5-billion) and ‘other’ non-metallic minerals (contributing -2.1 percentage points or -R2-billion).
The increases in the sales value of gold and iron-ore were significant positive contributors during the second quarter of 2012 (contributing 1.3 percentage points or R1.2-billion, and 1.1 percentage points or R1.095-billion respectively).
The actual value of mineral sales at current prices in the second quarter of 2012 increased by 5.4% compared with the second quarter of 2011. The most significant contributors to this increase were: gold (contributing 6.5 percentage points or R5.83-billion); coal (contributing 3.5 percentage points or R3.16-billion); and iron-ore (contributing 2.6 percentage points or R2.31-billion). PGM sales decreased over this period, contributing -7.3 percentage points or -R6.46-billion.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb