Gold output increases for the first time in 9 months

UNDER PRESSURE: Wimpy chain. © Unknown.
UNDER PRESSURE: Wimpy chain. © Unknown.

South African gold output rose by 1,3 percent year-on-year in May, the first increase in nine months, while overall mining production rose by 0,8 percent, Statistics South Africa said.

South African gold output rose by 1,3 percent year-on-year in May, the first increase in nine months, while overall mining production rose by 0,8 percent, Statistics South Africa said.

Gold output in South Africa, the world's largest producer of the precious metal, showed an increase in volume for the first time since August 2006.

Production of gold in South Africa has been on a downward slope, tumbling by more than 50percent over the past decade, as high-grade mines are running out of ore and firms are grappling with more difficult and high-cost underground operations.

In 2006, gold production fell 7,5percent to the lowest levels since 1922, industry group the Chamber of Mines said.

Statistics South Africa did not give any reason for the increase in May of gold output.

But in March a chamber official said the higher gold prices and increased capital spending on mines was expected to slow or possibly halt the decline this year.

The volume of non-gold minerals output rose by 0,8percent in May and overall minerals production also increased by 0,8percent, a statement on www.statssa.gov.za said.

Despite the marginal rises in production, a boom in commodity prices and a weaker rand has led to sharply higher income from South Africa's mines.

In April year-on-year gold sales rose 30,1 percent to R2,9billion; sales of non-gold minerals shot up by 40,8percent to R15,28billion; and total mineral sales gained 39,0percent to R18,13billion.

Sales figures are reported one month later than production figures. - Reuters

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