South African mining output rises for first time in nine months

Kumba Iron Ore, South Africa’s top producer of the steel-making ingredient (Image of Sishen mine courtesy of Kumba Iron Ore)

South African mining output increased for the first time in nine months in July as coal and iron ore production surged.

Mining production rose 2.4% from a year earlier compared with a revised 4.1% decline in June, Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa said in a report on its website Thursday. The median estimate of five economists in a Bloomberg survey was for a 1% increase.

Key insights

  • Iron ore was the big driver of the swing in mining output after its production surged by 23.7%. Coal, which is the biggest contributor to total mining, rose 8.6% in July and platinum-group metals, the second-largest mineral group, rose 2.7%.
  • Gold production continues to lag the rest of the industry and declined 13.1%, the 22nd consecutive month of contraction. Gold mining in South Africa, which has lost its status as the continent’s biggest producer of the metal to Ghana, is becoming less lucrative as it costs more to extract from deeper ore bodies. A 39.1% drop in diamond production also weighed on the sector.

(By Prinesha Naidoo, with assistance from Simbarashe Gumbo)

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