The latest Indices of Mining Production (IMP) released by the government statistics agency shows that Copper-Nickel-Cobalt matte and Soda Ash, which contributed 0.4 of a percentage points respectively were the main positive contributions to the national mining production. However, their positive contributions were too small to offset the negative contribution brought by diamonds.
According to data provided by Statistics Botswana (SB) at the end of fourth quarter (Q4) of 2014, IMP stood at 104.5 showing a negative year-on-year growth of 4.0 percent. The negative growth rates recorded was for Gold (49.1 percent) and diamonds (5.7 percent).
Diamond production declined 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, when compared with the same quarter of the previous year. This decline is attributable to mining of lower grade ore from key operating mines.
At the same time, Gold production exhibited the largest decline, at 49.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. This was attributable to low ore mined which resulted in low gold recoveries from the ore.
Recording an upward trend was Copper in concentrates whose production decelerated, increasing 11.4 percent in the same quarter after increasing 165.9 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2013, this was attributable to the insufficient ore supply to the mill from plant and low ore production which was aggravated by the wet conditions.
The SB data further shows that Soda Ash production exhibited the highest growth, at 72.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014. The substantial increase was the result of the necessity to stockpile ahead of a scheduled shutdown to allow for refurbishment of machinery during the first quarter of 2015.
Meanwhile on annual basis, the total index of mining production increased by 3.3 percent in 2014 as compared to 17.3 percent in the previous year. This was mainly due to the slow growth in diamond production which increased by 6.6 percent in 2014 compared to an increase of 12.2 percent registered in 2013. The deceleration in the total index mining production was also affected by a decrease in the production of Copper-Nickel-Cobalt matte.
Researchers at Statistics Botswana says that although the total index of mining production growth increased in most parts of the period 2004 to 2014, it decreased at an average annual rate of 1.5 percent during the last ten (10) years.
Statistics Botswana uses data sourced from the Department of Mines to analyse trends across the mining sector.