Picture: SOWETAN
Picture: SOWETAN

SA’s mining production rose in December led by a jump in manganese output and providing the first year-on-year rise for the sector since February.

Mining output was up 0.5% month-on-month in December, Stats SA said on Thursday, its first increase since August and rising 0.1% year on year.

Manganese output surged 32.5% year on year in the last month of 2020, contributing 2.2 percentage points to the headline figure, and diamonds rose 51.4%, contributing 1.4 percentage points.

Coal production was also up, but this was offset by Platinum Group Metals (PGMs), which slumped 19.4%, contributing -5 percentage points.

The industry contributes roughly 7% of GDP, but its share has been steadily declining in recent years, facing issues that include unreliable and expensive electricity supply, as well as regulatory uncertainty.

Seasonally adjusted mining production decreased 0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the third quarter.

This fall had been expected by Absa economists, who cited a fall in PGM production, partly due to smelter problems at Anglo American Platinum.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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