Mining industry back on track

IN DEMAND: Heaps of platinum ore. © Unknown.
IN DEMAND: Heaps of platinum ore. © Unknown.

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Eskom allowing the mining industry five percent more electricity saw mineral volumes jump 13percent from May to April.

Year-on-year, however, the power crunch has seen mining output slip one percent.

Soaring commodity prices saw mining sales for March reach R25,4billion, a 35percent increase from March last year, on the back of lower output.

Statistics South Africa's monetary mining data lags its volume data by a month.

Platinum group metal production jumped 24percent month on month. Platinum group metals are the biggest export, accounting for 42percent of total March sales.

Second-placed coal widened its lead over gold, both in money and volume growth. Coal production grew 13percent in April year on year and 45percent by value to R5billion in March year on year.

Gold production, on the other hand, fell 10percent while March's R4billion revenue was only 14percent higher than March last year.

Fourth-placed iron ore grew 27percent by value and seven percent by volume.

Manganese has shot to South Africa's fifth biggest mining product with sales more than tripling to R830million on the back of an 11percent rise in ore production.

Nickel has suffered a price slump amid the general commodities boom.

March's total nickel revenue of R476million was nearly half last year March's R861million. Low nickel prices have prompted mining groups to rather allocate their limited electricity elsewhere, causing nickel output to plummet 21percent year on year.