South Africa’s mining production fell by 28.2pc in June from the prior year making it the fourth consecutive month of de-growth this year, according to official data. June mining production fared worse than May’s 27.6pc contraction. The steepest decline was in April at 51.2pc drop.
The largest contributors to mining production decline in 2020 (until June) were platinum group metals, coal and iron ore. The lockdowns announced in March 27 as a consequence of COVID-19 pandemic has had extensive impact on economic activities including the mining sector of the country. The mining industry has ramped up production to full capacity but in June production still de-grew. The lack of reliable electricity supply weighed on growth.
In Q1, even before the pandemic set in, mining industry was pressuring the GDP growth of the country, which was already in recession. The mining production index for iron ore in April-June (Q2) slipped by 51pc from the previous quarter (Jan-March). The index for chromium ore declined by 56pc in Q2 from previous quarter. The index for copper production declined by 55.4pc in April-June from preceding quarter. Nickel production index dipped by 25.3pc in Q2 from the prior quarter.
Iron ore production in June was down by 17pc from the prior year. Chromium ore production in June fell by 47.8pc from June 2019. Copper production fell by 24pc in June from the prior year and nickel production dipped by 22pc in June from the year prior.
Total mineral sales in June decreased by 14.2pc from the previous year. Sales have been falling consecutively since April compared to prior year. In January, February and March mineral sales grew by 24.4 pc, 18.2pc and 12.6pc, respectively.