A data compilation by the national statistics agency – Statistics Botswana (SB) for the second quarter of 2020 has shown that the production at the country’s precious stones mine has gone down by as much as 67 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019.
The SB data also shows that the quarter-on-quarter production of diamonds registered a negative growth rate of 66.4 percent during the second quarter of 2020 compared to the preceding quarter (Q1:2020).
Statistics Botswana says the substantial decline resulted mainly from planned strategy to reduce bulky production in order to align production with trading conditions.
“The Covid-19 pandemic contributed to the weak demand for diamonds as it forced countries to impose travel restrictions thereby resulting in sight holders being unable to purchase and sell the commodity”, reads part of the SB’s Index of the Physical Volume of Mining Production.
The Index also shows that the second biggest contraction was in coal production, down by 40.7 percent compared to the corresponding second quarter of 2019. Output also declined by 36.6 percent from the year’s first quarter. The decline was attributed to Covid-19 protocols imposed by the government as public safety measures. Additionally, Morupule B Power station’s remedial works on boilers are still on-going, as a result, leading to low uptake of the commodity as only one boiler is operating at Morupule B power station.
Gold production decreased by 34.5 percent compared to the same quarter of the previous year. At the same time, quarter-on-quarter analysis reflects a decrease of 16.5 percent. The decline was as a result of Covid-19 protocols which slowed down the mining activities and market demands.
On the bright spot, Soda Ash production was buoyant, increasing by 32.7 percent in the second quarter compared to last year’s corresponding period. On a quarterly comparison, the production slightly advanced by 5.5 percent. The increase resulted from the strategy to defer halting operations for care and maintenance in response to Covid-19 pandemic, in turn the mine was compelled to increase production so as to meet the demand as well as stockpiling for future use.