South Africa's Gold Output Down 5.8%


"South Africa has slipped down to position four on the global production ranking. . ."

South Africa's gold production declined by 5.8% to 204 922 kg in 2009, which was an improvement on the large 14.5% decline in production in 2008.

South Africa's Chamber of Mines said in a statement on Friday that the electricity crisis and the stoppages of mines and shafts for safety related reasons had the impact of prematurely downscaling the country's gold sector in 2008.

The 2009 production number means that South Africa has slipped down to position four on the global production ranking, behind China, Australia and the U.S.

South Africa was the world's largest gold producer for most of the last century up until 2006.

"Nevertheless, the gold mining industry remains critically important to South Africa's economy," said the Chamber.

In 2009, the industry earned about R48.7-billion in foreign exchange making it the country's second largest exporter behind platinum group-metals at R58-billion.

Further, the gold sector employed about 159,000 workers and paid about R17-billion in salaries and wages, spent R10.3-billion on capital expenditure, paid R1.4-billion in direct tax to government, paid R506-million in dividends, procured about R3.6-billion worth of electricity and spent another R8.6-billion on the procurement of other goods and services in the economy.

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