Picture: BLOOMBERG/NADINE HUTTON
Picture: BLOOMBERG/NADINE HUTTON

South African mines produced 4.3% less in April than in the same month in 2017, which was an improvement from March’s 8.5% production slump.

The value of mining production sold in current prices in April came to R37bn, down from R39.6bn in March but 6.1% higher than the R35bn sold in April 2017, Statistics SA reported on Thursday.

Stats SA reported total mining sales in current prices, which does not take inflation into account. The index of volume of mining production, which was set to 100 in 2015, was 89.8 points in April.

This was 5.6% lower than March’s 95.1 points and 4.3% lower than 93.8 points in April 2017.

Of the 12 mineral types Stats SA segments its mining report into, "other metallic minerals" suffered the biggest annual volume slump of 36.3%, followed by copper production which fell 27.6%.

Only three categories reported annual production growth: other non-metallic minerals grew 7.6%; chromium ore production grew 5.1%; and coal production grew 3%.

Measured by value, April’s total coal sales declined 12.6% to R10.6bn from March’s R12bn. Coal is SA’s largest mining industry in monetary terms, contributing 29% of April’s total sales.

The next biggest is platinum group metals (PGM) where the value fell 11% to R7bn from R7.9bn in March. The volume of PGM production fell 5.4% in April from March, and was down 6.5% from the previous year.

The value of gold sold in April was R6bn, a 24% jump from March’s R4.9bn. The volume of gold production rose 12.3% over the month, which was not a large enough rebound to avert a 5.7% decline in gold production from April 2017.