Coal drags but mining production still on the up

Johannesburg – Mining production was up 1.3% for January 2017, compared to levels a year ago, according to data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA).

Stats SA released the mining and sales data for January 2017 on Tuesday. Mining production was up 1.7% from December 2016, an uptick from a downward trend reported previously.

The main drivers of this increase include manganese ore up 20% and contributing 1.2 percentage points to overall production, and iron ore which was up 7.3%, also contributing 1.2 percentage points to production.

However, coal production was down 5.5% and was a “significant” negative contributor to overall production.

Seasonally, production was down 5.2% for the three months leading up to January 2017, the statistics revealed. The largest negative contributors for the three months were platinum group metals (PGMs), which contributed -2 percentage points to the decline, and iron ore, which contributed -1.9 percentage points.  

Mineral sales

Mineral sales increased by 23% in December 2016, compared to the previous year. Manganese ore sales were up 317.7%, followed by chromium ore (195.5%), iron ore (64.7%) and coal (13.9%).  

However, copper sales decreased 63.3% from the previous year; gold sales were down too by 10.6%, followed by nickel which was down 5.3% and PGMs (-4.2%).

READ: Gold slides below $1 200 in longest losing run since Oct

Bloomberg previously reported that gold dipped below $1 200 an ounce, since October 2016. This is mainly driven by the prospects of the Federal Reserve Bank hiking rates.

Further the stronger rand has been impacting the resource sector’s earnings the most, Fin24 reported. 

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