BY BONNIE MODIAKGOTLA
Botswana, the diamond producing country, recorded 4.2 percent decline in the mining production index, on the back of decreases across most mining sectors, reveals Statistics Botswana in the indices of the physical volume of mining production report for the third quarter of the year (Q3 2018).
The report released this week Thursday shows that the mining production index is down at 87.1 in the third quarter of year, shedding off 4.2 percent from 2017’s corresponding period which recorded 91. The data which covers mining production from 2013 to 2018 reveals that on average production has been gradually declining in the past five years.
The slight decrease in the index recorded in the third quarter was due to diamond production slowing down 4.8 percent compared to last year production during the same period. Dr. Burton Mguni, the Statistician General, says the decline was the “result of planned strategy to reduce bulky production in order to align production with trading conditions”. The quarter-on-quarter analysis reflects that diamond production declined by 8.4 percent during the third quarter of 2018 compared to the second quarter of the same year.
Gold production declined by 10.6 percent during the third quarter, which was actually in line with falling gold prices in the third quarter ÔÇô a rout that began in the second quarter of 2018. A quarter on quarter comparison shows that gold production was 15.6 percent down in Q3 2018 relative to Q2 of the year.
Soda Ash production surged 33.8 in Q3 2018, compared to Q3 of 2017. Soda ash production has steadily increased over the past three consecutive quarters. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production increased by 87.8 percent during the period under review.
Salt production plummeted 31.8 percent in third quarter of the year compared to production during the same quarter of the previous year. However, a quarterly comparison, shows an increase of 77.2 percent in Q3 2018 from the prior quarter.
Coal production increased by 14.4 percent in Q3 2018 compared to production during the same quarter of the previous year. The quarter-on-quarter comparison reflects an increase of 0.5 percent.
Statistics Botswana reports that Copper-Nickel-Cobalt Matte and Silver production recorded zero production during the period under review. Mowana mine, which was the only operating copper mine in the country, has had a tough time this year ÔÇô missing production schedules due to equipment breakdown, and worsening financial position. The mine has failed to pay its suppliers and employees in time. This week the mine had to contend with a provisional liquidation application at the high court.
“The instability and uncertainty of commodity prices had negatively affected the mines, therefore finding it difficult to sustain themselves at the current prices as a result leading to the provisional liquidation of the concerned companies,” the data agency revealed.