Gold output during the first quarter of 2021 stood at 4,311 kgs compared to 6,152 kgs produced in the same period in 2020, and 4,794 kgs in the last quarter of last year, Great Dyke News 24 reports.
According to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube, the decline was mainly on account of a fall in deliveries from the artisanal and small-scale gold sector.
“Large scale producers delivered about 2,291 kgs during the first quarter of 2021, 11.2% higher than what was produced during the same period in 2020, while artisanal and small-scale gold sector delivered 1,586 kgs, about 55.6% below the production of the same period in 2020, reflecting leakages through smuggling,” he said.
He added that during the first quarter, platinum output stood at 3,369 kgs, a 5% decline compared to 3,544 kgs produced during the same period in 2020.
“However, this level of output slightly surpassed production for the previous quarter by 1.3%.
“Going forward, platinum output is projected to improve, as one of the major producers resumes production at the closed mine while other mines are also undertaking efficiency enhancement measures.
“Coming to nickel, Professor Mthuli said the metal had recorded a drop in output in the last quarter of 2020 and in the comparable first quarter of that year.
“Nickel output at 3,284 tonnes in the first quarter of 2021, was 16.6% and 22.1% below output produced in the comparable period in 2020 and in the previous quarter (Q4 2020), respectively.
“Reduced nickel output reflects low throughput from both primary and secondary producers. Output from the primary producers was 25% lower than the first quarter production in 2020.
“Similarly, this level of output was 44% lower than what was realised in the preceding quarter.
“The decrease in nickel output was against a surge in prices by about 39% in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2020 and 10.4% above the last quarter of 2020,” he said.
According to Professor Ncube, coal production stood at 596,753 tonnes during the period under review compared to 462,140 tonnes produced during the same period in 2020.
“Producers were mainly constrained by delays in payments for coal deliveries which adversely impacted on coal mining activities.
“Furthermore, production was also affected by limited absorption capacity during the first quarter due to non-operation of most of the units which saw three producers also cutting back output as there was no off taker for thermal power,” he said.
He added that following onset of the second wave Covid-19 pandemic during the first quarter of 2021, chrome production receded to 300,926 tonnes from 353,669 tonnes for the same period in 2020 and 311,495 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“Of the chrome ore produced, about 74% was beneficiated and value added and disposed as high carbon ferrochrome (HCF), while only 26% was sold as raw chrome.
“This is due to the favourable prices of HCF that prevailed during the quarter, as compared to those of raw chrome.
“Meanwhile, chrome producers have started modernising equipment and refurbishing their furnaces in order to boost production in response to picking up of chrome demand in markets such as China and firming up of prices,” said Professor Ncube.