JOHANNESBURG, June 11 -- South Africa's mining output increased by 2,7% year-on-year in April, recording its fourth consecutive month of growth, but gold production fell by 6,2%, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) reported on Thursday.
South Africa had been the world's number-one gold producer until 2007, when China took over the number-one spot. Australia has also since outranked South Africa, which was now vying with the US for the number-three position.
Investec economist Annabel Bishop commented that the moderation in the overall mining output growth was largely as a result of the timing of the Easter holidays.
"The sector's growth rate still received a substantial statistical boost off the low base of last year's recession - without which, April's mining production outcome would have been -8,6% year-on-year," she added.
Diamond production rose by 117,1% year-on-year and manganese ore by 104,1% year-on-year in April. Iron-ore output was up 25,8% and chromium ore production increased by 42,3%.
Copper output fell by 21,7%, nickel production fell by 19,7% year-on-year in April and platinum-group metals (PGMs) production was down by 8,2% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, Stats SA further pointed out that the value of mineral sales during March grew by 6,7% year-on-year to R22,8-billion.
The total seasonally adjusted value of mineral sales for the first quarter of the year increased by 12,1%, compared with that of the fourth quarter of last year, mainly as a result of increases in the sales value of PGMs, coal, other nonmetallic metals and iron-ore, stated Stats SA.
Compared with the first quarter of 2009, mineral sales grew by 7,7% in the first quarter of the year.