JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Mining production increased by 2.4% year-on-year in January, bolstered by strong growth in iron-ore production and “other” non-metallic minerals, Statistics South Africa figures how.
The January growth compares with a contraction of 0.5% in December.
Investec states that the growth was above consensus expectations of 1.3% year-on-year, adding that lower statistical base factors in January 2017 account for some of the forecast lift, while other key influencing factors include increased global demand and higher international commodity prices.
Iron-ore production rose by 25.1% and contributed 3.4 percentage points to the January growth, while production of “other” non-metallic minerals jumped 27% and contributed 1.3 percentage points.
Platinum-group metals and gold production declined by 13.6% and 7.7%, respectively, resulting in a negative contribution of 2.9 percentage points and 1.1 percentage points, respectively.
Investec states that difficult operating conditions and expected mine closures will drag down production numbers in the future, as will the strong rand. However, the organisation is hopeful that more policy and regulatory certainty under new Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe should improve prospects for the industry.