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Mining output slows in second quarter

A production rise at Morupule Coal Mine helped soften the mining sector output decline
A decline in diamond and copper output pulled down the mining industry’s production by 4.5 percent in the second quarter of this year, figures released by Statistics Botswana(SB) yesterday show.

According to the Statistics agency, the Indices of Mineral Production (IMP) in the second quarter of 2014 stood at 106.6 showing a negative year on year growth of 4.5 percent.

“The main contributors to the decline in growth of mining production came from copper-nickel-cobalt matte, which declined by 3.0 percentage points followed by diamonds, which declined by 1.3 percentage points and gold, with a decline of 0.3 percentage points,” read a statement from SB.

In the period, soda ash and coal however brought some resilience to the overall mining production fall, increasing by 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively during the second quarter of 2014. Despite the major plant maintenance carried out together with the impact of the clean-up of the Jwaneng Mine slope in 2013, Diamond production declined by 1.5 percent between the second quarter of 2014 and the same quarter in the previous year, 2013.

De Beers’s figures show that Debswana output was two percent lower at 6.26 million carats in the three months to June 2014, largely due to a production decline at Jwaneng and Letlhakane mines.

According to SB, copper-nickel-cobalt matte production declined by 34.7 percent between the second quarter of 2014 and the same quarter of the previous year inefficiencies in smelter waste boiler tube at BCL disrupted production. On the other hand, production at the country’s sole gold miner, Mupane Gold, fell by 24.6 between the second quarter of 2014 and the same quarter of the previous year. This follows a decline of 17.8 percent between

the same quarters of 2013 and 2012. “The changes recorded between second quarter of 2014 and that of 2013, was attributable to ore shortages and lower than expected gold recoveries from the ore,” said SB.

Mitigating the decline in most minerals, Soda Ash production recorded an increase of 29.8 percent during the same period with substantial increase in production being mainly attributed to the effectiveness of the plant at Botash following its maintenance.

Coal production also recorded a substantial growth of 66.1 percent between second quarters of 2014 and 2013 following three consecutive declines. The growth is attributed to the increased demand for coal following optimal usage of the Morupule B Power generators during the second quarter of 2014.

A fall in production in the mining sector slowed down the economic growth rate in the second quarter of the year.

 On a year-on-year basis, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was at 4.5 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from 7.3 percent in the same quarter of last year. According to SB, the largest contributor to a slower economic growth rate was a fall in mining output, predominantly diamond and copper.

“All other sectors recorded a positive growth of more than 1.5 percent over the period. The exception is mining which recorded a decrease of 3.8 percent.

“The decrease in the real value added of the mining sector was attributed to diamond and copper or nickel production which registered a negative growth of 1.5 and 21.3 percent respectively,” stated the Statistics agency.




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