Producers are taking a big hit and there is little chance of exporting the surplus.
The big sell-off of the metal is a symptom of the global price slumps - and the worst is yet to come.
The fall in prices of commodities, which are South Africa's lifeline, will offset lower fuel costs.
Weaker demand for mineral products and labour unrest have been flagged as economic risk factors.
Analysts have warned against too much optimism, saying investors turn to the metal when they are worried about the dollar.
Maize futures has fallen to a one-month low as the strengthening of the rand made imports more affordable.
There has been a return of commodity risk, with commodities breaking free of their ties to other asset classes and delivering different performances.
Labour unrest that has taken new and more challenging forms is compounding the effects of slumping commodity prices.
No one wants even to conceive what will happen to our resource shares if commodity prices fall further from current levels.
The mooted merger between commodities trader Glencore and mining company Xstrata is likely to face few regulatory hurdles in South Africa.
But Glencore and Xstrata executives maintain that they are merely consolidating their business.
The year ahead may yet prove a tough time for commodities, but the outlook from the 2012 Mining Indaba is cautiously optimistic, thanks to China.
Diversified heavyweights Anglo and BHP Billiton could top the mining list.
Demand for iron ore, copper and aluminium will double in the next 15 to 20 years, driven by the Brics economies, says Rio Tinto's chief executive.
Gold and silver prices rose on Wednesday as investors continue to worry about inflation and how the US and Europe will deal with their financial woes.
An imminent flotation will shine the spotlight on commodities giant.
Asset managers are bullish on shares and believe the rand will continue to weaken. They also think inflation may rise.
Rowan wants to know where to learn more about trading currency and commodities.
There are profits to be made from trading in commodities. Local investors can now trade on the local markets, writes Maya Fisher-French.