South Africa chamber of mines says half of members in the red

South Africa’s Chamber of Mines warned Wednesday that nearly half of its members were in loss-making territory as a result of a sustained rout in commodity prices, climbing costs, falling productivity and regulatory issues.

Group represents the country's largest mining companies, including AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Impala Platinum Holdings.

The group, which represents the largest mining companies in South Africa, including AngloGold Ashanti, Sibanye Gold and Impala Platinum Holdings, issued its annual review for 2015 only days before wage talks begin at the country’s three largest platinum companies.

The body’s report comes on the heels of updated statistics published last week, which showed a surprisingly large decline of the country’s mining production.

According to Statistics South Africa, output dropped 18% in March when compared to the same period last year. The government agency said the hardest hit commodity was manganese ore, which declined 24.3%, followed by platinum group metals which fell 23.7%. Iron ore output slid 21.4%, coal production dropped by 15.8%, and gold output also slumped, though not by much, only 7.4%.

The gloomy estimates add more pressure to South Africa’s battered economy, which is in danger of sliding into recession, while the country is at risk of having its credit rating downgraded to junk status.