JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Chamber of Mines (CoM) on Thursday said that, despite general uncertainty about the global economy and the direction and sustainability of commodity prices, as well as domestic cost and policy pressures, it seems as if there are “green shoots” of improvements “if one [looks] carefully”.
Its statement follows the release by Statistics South Africa, last week, of the latest quarterly employment survey data, which showed that job losses in the mining sector have slowed substantially in the final quarter of 2016, compared with two years ago.
Nearly 40 000 jobs were lost in the industry from the beginning of 2015 to the end of last year. When comparing the average number of people employed between 2015 and 2016, about 21 500 employees lost their livelihoods.
“However, the rate of job losses has slowed down. Between the end of 2015 and the end of 2016, job losses amounted to only 4 162,” CoM chief economist Henk Langenhoven noted.
“We clarified the sequence of leading indicators that, if positive, would signal improvement in the mining sector as follows: World economic growth must continue to recover to stimulate demand for commodities."
The next indicator of an improvement for the CoM was employment numbers.
The employment data reported on lags production numbers by a quarter, but the positive correction that can already be seen, may just continue, he stated.
Further, Langenhoven pointed out that it was curious that there was a lack of direct correlation between mining employment and production figures.
“The latest data confirms the disappointments of 2016, but similarly shows signs of a better 2017, albeit diverse.”