/ 13 July 2023

Mining output down 0.8% in May

Visit To Sibanye Stillwater Khuseleka Platinum Mine
South African mining output decreased by 0.8% in May. Photo: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg/Getty Images

South African mining output decreased by 0.8% in May, according to data from Statistics South Africa released on Thursday.

This was after mining production increased by 2.3% in April, snapping 14 consecutive months of year-on-year decline.  

In May, production was dragged down mainly by diamonds, where output fell 31.4% year-on-year, while platinum-group metals decreased by 7.2% year-on-year. 

On a month-on-month basis, seasonally adjusted mining production was down 3.8% in May compared with April. 

Seasonally adjusted mining production increased by 3.1% in the three months ended May, compared with the previous three months. The largest positive contributors were gold, which increased by 10.1%, while iron ore recorded a 6% increase and coal output was up by 1.9%. 

Economists at Nedbank said power outages, slower domestic and global demand and lower commodity prices continued to weigh on output and expected the weak trend of the past 18 months to persist.

Wednesday’s Stats SA data showed that mineral sales at current prices decreased by 11.8% year-on-year in May, with the largest negative contributors being coal which slumped 37%, iron ore which fell 30.2% and platinum-group metals which decreased by 20.1%.