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S. Africa Mining Output Falls Most in Five Months on Strikes

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- South African mining production declined the most in five months in September as strikes since August disrupted operations.

Output retreated 8.3 percent from a year earlier, the Pretoria-based Statistics South Africa in Pretoria said in a statement on its website. The median estimate of three analysts in a Bloomberg survey was for a contraction of 4.5 percent. Output of platinum-group metals fell almost 18 percent and gold production decreased 11 percent, also the most since April.

Labor unrest that started in South Africa’s platinum industry on Aug. 10 spread to gold, coal and chrome mines last quarter, weakening the economy. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan cut the annual growth outlook to 2.5 percent from 2.7 percent. The mine strikes have cost 10.1 billion rand ($1.2 billion) in lost gold and platinum output this year, according to the National Treasury.

“Supply disruptions related to strike action in the mining sector as well as generally difficult operating conditions in the domestic mining sector will continue to undermine the performance of mining production,” Nedbank Group Ltd., the country’s fourth-largest bank, said in an e-mailed statement. “In the longer term much of the sector faces structural change due to the permanently higher cost base.”

Platinum fell 0.1 percent to $1,541.70 an ounce by 1:49 p.m. in London. Gold dropped 0.1 percent to $1,715.90 an ounce.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tshepiso Mokhema in Johannesburg at tmokhema@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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