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Diamonds push mining production up

ISAAC PINIELO
Rebound: Recovery in diamond production drove the mining index up
Mining production in Botswana rose 23% year-on-year in September, primarily influenced by positive contributions from diamonds and gold, Statistics Botswana (SB) said this week.

The index of mining production (IMP) stood at 90.7 in the third quarter of 2017 showing a year-on-year increase from of 23% from 73.7 during the third quarter of 2016.

According to the data office, the quarter-on-quarter analysis reflects an increase of 3.9% from 87.3 during the second quarter of 2017.

Diamonds recorded 32.9% year-on-year percentage change, resulting in 29.3 percentage points’ contribution to the percentage change in total mining production.

Gold on the other hand recorded 53.1% year-on-year percentage change, which translated to 0.6 of a percentage point contribution to the overall percentage change in mining production during the third quarter of 2017.

Diamond production recorded an increase of 32.9% during the quarter under review as compared to the third quarter of 2016.

Statistician general, Anna Majelantle said the increase was largely due to the improved trading environment and international demand for diamonds, as well as the resumption of the plant, which was previously under partial care and maintenance.

The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that diamond production during the third quarter of this year increased by 2.4% as compared to the second quarter. Gold production recorded the highest increase since the second quarter of 2016, increasing 53.1% in the third quarter of 2017 as compared to the corresponding quarter in 2016.

Majelantle said the increase was as a result of higher than expected recoveries from the ore despite the declining lifespan of the mine. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows

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an increase of 42.3%, when comparing production during the third quarter of 2017 to the preceding quarter.

Soda Ash production registered a decrease of 9.5% during the third quarter of 2017 when compared to the same quarter of 2016. The decrease was attributed to the aftermath of the plant refurbishment, which took place in the second quarter of 2017. The quarter-on-quarter comparisons, however, reflect an increase of 100.9% during the period under review as compared to the preceding quarter. Salt production recorded an increase of 35.3% in the third quarter of 2017 when compared to the same quarter of 2016.

“The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows an increase of close to two fold in the third quarter of 2017 as compared to the second quarter of 2017,” said Majelantle. Coal production decelerated, increasing 6.3 in the third quarter of 2017 after increasing 63.9 in the second quarter of 2017 when compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Majelantle said although production decelerated, it is important to note that there was no shortfall in supply of coal due to stockpiling.

“The quarter-on-quarter production increased by 1.5%, when compared to the preceding quarter,” she said. Copper-nickel-cobalt matte, silver and copper in concentrates recorded zero production during the period under review. Majelantle said the instability and uncertainty of commodity prices had negatively affected the mines, thus leading to the provisional liquidation of the concerned companies.



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