In the doldrums
Range of factors hit industry
MINING OUTPUT had a particularly dismal 2008, with volumes contracting 7,5% over the year as a whole compared with decreases of 0,9% and 1,5% during 2006 and 2007 respectively. An analysis by Efficient Group economist Fanie Joubert shows the main contributors to the “dreadful” performance were platinum group metals, where output fell by 8,3% year-on-year, gold (-16,2%) and diamonds (-15,1%).
Providing a limited amount of counter was iron ore production, which increased by 14,6% over 2008 but contributed only 3% to total mining production.
Factors affecting the mining industry during 2008 included the serious electricity shortages experienced at the start of the year, numerous strikes by organised labour as well as reports of flooding of shafts. “That took place against the backdrop of the so-called commodity prices boom/bust, which saw prices recording high US dollar values during the first half of the year but then plunging during the second half, with the catalyst being the sudden deterioration in the global economic growth forecast,” Joubert says.