Aug 7 (Reuters) – South Africa’s mining output has fallen further below pre-pandemic levels due to persistent electricity outages and rail disruptions, industry data shows, threatening dividend payouts to investors.
South Africa is the world’s biggest producer of platinum and chrome and a leading producer of gold and diamonds. But the industry has been shrinking for years as ore grades decline and output was disrupted in 2020 when COVID-19 lockdowns impacted operations.
Now severe power cuts since the end of 2022 are affecting output, while state-owned freight rail firm Transnet is struggling to haul minerals to port due to cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure.
As a result, mine output and sales for the 12 months to May 2023 were down 4.6% and 4.2%, respectively, compared to the same period a year earlier, new data from the Minerals Council of South Africa figures showed. Output in May was down 7.8% from pre-pandemic levels, the council’s chief economist Henk Langenhoven said.