South African mining output falls for fourth consecutive month

South Africa’s mining sector woes continued in November 2019, when production fell 3.1% year-on-year primarily due to extensive power outages which impacted operations across the country.

The latest data released by Statistics South Africa revealed that platinum group metals suffered the steepest decline, with production dropping by 13.5% and contributing -3.6 percentage points.

Iron ore and coal production also decreased by 2.8% and 0.7% respectively in November, equivalent to -7.5 and -0.7 percentage points.

Meanwhile, non-metallic minerals were a significant positive contributor, up 20.5% and contributing +1.2 percentage points.

Seasonally adjusted, mining production for November was down 3.5% on a year earlier, although mineral sales jumped 5.8% year-on-year.

State-run utility Eskom’s policy of heightened rotational load-shedding is likely to continue negatively impacting South Africa’s mining production figures, according to asset management group Investec.

Elsewhere, mining giant Glencore and its joint venture partner at the Rustenburg ferrochrome smelter in South Africa could cut up to 665 jobs due to problems such as power cuts and rising electricity tariffs.