SA gold output plunges most in six years in December

Production of gold by South African mines retreated the most in six years in December as a strike at the nation’s top producer of the metal continued.

Gold output declined 31% from a year earlier, compared with a revised 14% drop in November, Statistics South Africa said in a statement on its website Thursday.

This represents a 15th straight month of declines in production. South Africa used to be the world’s top producer of the metal but deeper ore bodies, labour strife, high costs and policy uncertainty have crimped output.Sibanye Gold said earlier this week that it was considering shutting unprofitable shafts and cutting jobs at its operations for the metal amid a three-month-old wage strike that’s curbing output.

The company plans to cut more than 6 000 jobs, it said on Thursday.

Total mining output declined 4.8% from a year earlier, the statistics agency said. Production of platinum-group metals increased 6.1% from a year earlier, it said. This is a fourth straight month of gains, the longest such streak since 2016.

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