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South African iron ore production increased year on year

South African iron ore production increased year on year

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South Africa's mining output in September recorded an impressive year-on-year growth due to increased iron ore production.

Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) said  that the mining output rose a marginal 0.2percent from a 3percent decline in August.

The September output beat market expectations of a 2.2 percent decline in an industry troubled by regulatory uncertainty, lack of investment and power disruptions.

Iron ore, which is a key ingredient in the production of steel, recorded an 8.2percent increase and boosted the headline result by 0.9percent, followed by the other non-metallic minerals category, which added 0.8percent.

Non-metallic minerals jumped 13.6percent while metallics contributed 38 percent.

However, declines in other key mineral groups, including diamonds, manganese and Platinum Group Metals (PGM) hurt output.

Diamonds were the biggest negative contributor with a 15.7percent contraction followed by manganese ore which was 7.3percent lower and PGM which fell 2percent, StatsSA said.

The Minerals Council SA, formerly known as the Chamber of Mines, has previously said that the mining industry had the potential to make a sustainable, positive contribution to growth and development in South Africa.

The council said mining contributed R351billion or 7.3percent to GDP during 2018 and contributed R91bn to fixed investment, which was 17percent total private sector investment.

Coal is the most important sector of South Africa’s mining industry and accounts for the bulk of sales and output, followed by PGM, bulk metals, gold and iron ore.

However, the council insisted that the sector needed to attract and keep investment on a stable, predictable and competitive investment environment.

Investec economist Lara Hodes said that the mining sector, however, remained susceptible to the weakening global economic backdrop, with both global growth and global trade momentum slowing to the weakest rate since the global financial crisis. Specifically, softening global growth and investment continue to hinder commodity demand, with exports of resources a key driver of economic growth in South Africa.

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