SA mining lost billions during strikes

By Drum Digital
11 April 2013

South Africa's mining industry lost over R15 billion in production during the strikes in the 2012/2013 financial year, according to figures released by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) on Thursday.

Just over R10bn was lost in gold and platinum production during the mining sector stoppages last year.

"An additional R180 million was lost in coal production during the same period. The total value of production lost across all sectors of mining amounted to R15.3bn," SAIRR spokeswoman Boitumelo Sethlatswe said in a statement.

The SAIRR said the National Treasury noted that because of the mining sector's strong links with other sectors, the export losses exceeded the direct losses.

"The Treasury estimates that the mining stoppages subtracted 50 basis points from gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2012 so that GDP growth was 2.5 percent instead of three percent," said Sethlatswe.

"Export revenues were also projected to be about R12bn lower in 2012 than they would have been without the disruptions."

The downgrading of the state's credit rating was directly linked to the strikes and the outlook in the mining industry continued to be bleak.

"According to Statistics SA, value added by the mining and quarrying sector decreased by R4bn... to R66bn in the fourth quarter of 2012," she said.

The organisation further cautioned that continued policy uncertainty and labour disruptions could lead to further job losses.

Platinum giant Lonmin made headlines when labour turbulence at its mine in Marikana, North West, resulted in violent clashes between police and striking miners in August.

In September, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) workers in the same region went on a wildcat strike demanding to be paid a minimum of R16,000 a month.

-by Sapa

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