Coal mining is SA's biggest revenue generator. Picture: THE TIMES
Coal mining is SA's biggest revenue generator. Picture: THE TIMES

Three months of declining mining production was halted in October, with a surprise annual growth of 0.5%.

The economists' consensus was a 1.5% decline, continuing September's slide which Statistics SA revised to a worse 2% from the originally reported 1.8%. 

Stats SA reported on Tuesday that its mining production index, which was set to 100 points in 2015, was 104.9 points in October, up from 104.4 points in October 2017 and 101.4 points in September.

Of the 12 mineral types Stats SA splits its mining reports into, diamonds showed the fastest annual growth of 27.2%, followed by platinum group metals (PGMs) which jumped 21.4%, while manganese ore production grew 19.9%.

Copper production suffered a 22.8% production slump, followed by a 22% crash in iron ore production.

The total sales of SA's mining industry in October came to R45.76bn, a 3.1% increase from R44bn in October 2017.

Stats SA shows coal is SA's biggest revenue earner, with sales of R13.3bn in October.

The next biggest is PGMs with total sales of R10.77bn, followed by gold at R7bn.

laingr@businesslive.co.za