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SA mining production at nine-year low

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Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 February 2009 – South African mining production fell to its lowest level since 2000 last year, as power shortages, safety-related shutdowns and falling prices cut into output of gold, platinum group metals and diamonds.

Releasing latest production figures here, Statistics South Africa revealed that the index of total mining production for 2008 was 7.5% lower than in 2007. This 7.5% decrease was far higher than drops of 0.9% in 2007 and 1.5% in 2006.

The release added that the major contributors to the annual decrease of 7.5% in 2008 had been the platinum group  metals (-3,8 percentage  points), gold (2.2 percentage points) and diamonds (-1.7 percentage points). Iron ore production had increased by 17% in 2008 and contributed positively with 0.6 of a percentage point.

The total mining production for the fourth quarter of 2008, after seasonal adjustment, increased by 1,2% compared with the previous quarter. The major contributor to this increase of 1.2% was PGMs (5.5 percentage points). Diamond production counteracted the seasonally adjusted growth of 1.2% in total mining in the fourth quarter of 2008 with a negative contribution of 2.2 percentage points.

Statistics South Africa added that the total seasonally adjusted value of mineral sales at current prices for the three months ended November 2008 reflected a decrease of 5.1%, compared with the previous three months. This decrease of 5.1% (R4 110.0 million) could be largely attributed to a decrease of 7.7% (R5 396.6 million) in non-gold mineral sales.