Drilling for gold –
a typical South African
mining operation
 
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 March, 2008 – South African gold production dropped by 7.4% in 2007 to 254 685 kg – a marked deterioration when compared to the 6.3% per annum average rate of decline recorded over the past decade.

Figures released by the Chamber of Mines show that production by Chamber members fell by 6.7% to 219 223 kg.

Releasing these figures here, the Chamber revealed that the 37% increase in capital expenditure by members to R8.1-billion led to a 5.8% increase in the tonnes of material processed through the mills, but this was offset by an 11.8% decrease to 4.12 g/t in the average grade mined. This resulted in the overall production decrease.

In the fourth quarter of 2007, South Africa’s gold production fell by 7% to 61 845 kg, compared with the third quarter of 2007. On a year-on-year basis the rate of decline in gold production accelerated sharply from 5.4% in the third quarter to 9.2% in the fourth quarter of 2007.

“A number of issues, including stoppages related to improving safety in the industry, had a negative impact on production,” the Chamber statement explained.

Production by Chamber members declined by 7.4% to 53 079 kg in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared to the third quarter. The 1.5% decline in tonnes milled, plus a 6% drop in average grade led to the fall in production. The 6.3% increase in tonnes processed through the mills was insufficient to compensate for the 10% decline in the average grade recovered.