The mining industry shed almost 50,000 jobs from 2012 to 2015, most of which were in the gold and platinum sectors, StatisticsSA said in the Mining Industry 2015 report. Since 2015, job losses have continued in the sector, which contributed 7.3% of the country’s GDP in 2016. Preliminary figures from the Chamber of Mines show 457,698 people were employed in mining in 2016. Although the total income — which reflects commodity prices and exchange rates, not volumes — earned by SA’s mining industry rose 6.6% or 2.2% a year in the four years to R419.5bn, average salaries and wages rose by 7.5% a year or 24%, an unsustainable trend that helps to explain the decline in employment numbers. Henk Langenhoven, chief economist at the Chamber of Mines, said 2015 was an unusual year for the industry since the sector was at the bottom of the commodity price decline curve. As it was also a year of recovery from the 2014 platinum sector strike, production and sales were better than average over the ...

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