Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

South Africa’s mining output in December 2020 increased by 0.1pc compared to Dec 2019, according to data released by Statistics South Africa.


The country’s seasonally adjusted mining production grew by 0.5pc in December 2020 from the preceding month.

In November and October, the mining output had declined by 2.4pc and 0.8pc, respectively.


In Q4 2020 (Oct-Dec, 2020), South Africa’s seasonally adjusted mining production fell by 0.5pc as compared to the third quarter of 2020 (Q3). In Q4, the biggest positive contributor was iron ore output (13.3pc), contributing 1.2 percentage points to the total output.


The country’s overall mining production in 2020 decreased by 10.7pc as compared to 2019, declining for a second successive year. South Africa’s cumulative mining output in 2019 and 2018 declined by 0.5pc and 1.5pc, respectively.



South Africa’s mineral sales in December 2020 grew by 23.8pc from the same month in 2019. Of which, sales of iron ore (59pc) contributed 8.2 percentage points to the total sales, while nickel sales (80.8pc) contributed 1 percentage point to the total sales.


Seasonally adjusted mineral sales in December decreased by 6.5pc as compared to November. Mineral sales in November fell by 4.4pc but grew by 2.2pc in October 2020.


In Q4 2020, the seasonally adjusted mineral sales were higher by 4.1pc as compared to the third quarter of 2020.


In 2020, South Africa’s total mineral sales rose by 10.4pc as. The increase in annual mineral sales followed increases of 10.8pc in 2019 and 5.2pc in 2018.



The outlook for mining in South Africa remains mixed, as per media reports. The pick-up in industrial activity and firmer commodity prices across the globe creates conditions for higher production. However, domestic factors pose a challenge to the mining industry in South Africa with the uncertain legislative framework and persistent power shortages being the key obstacles.

The rising new cases of COVID-19 could also hamper the build-up of momentum in mining activity in South Africa.


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