Sunday, November 27, 2022

Q4: 2021 was good for Mining

Statistics Botswana’s indices of the physical volume of mining production report, released on Friday, is reflecting a boon in mining production in the last part of the year as evidenced by the surge in mining production index. The surge is on the back of increases across most mining sectors according to data published this past week.

The recently published report for the fourth quarter of 2021 notes that the output of different mining activities in the country grew by 28.1 percent. This reflects a year-on-year increase from 64.0 recorded during the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4:2020) to 82.0 registered during the fourth quarter of 2021 (Q4:2021).

The Statistics Botswana data shows that on annual basis, the total index of mining production stood at 86.0, showing an increase of 37.0 percent in 2021 when compared with 62.8 registered in 2020.

“The 37.0 percent increase in annual mining production followed a decrease of 28.1 percent in 2020 and a decrease of 3.9 in 2019,” reads part of the SB report.

Available data shows that Botswana’s Mining production suffered worst contraction in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic which led to restrained output and trade. The data shows that during that year the total index of mining production shrank by 28.1 percent, the biggest annual decline recorded since 2009.

Statistics Botswana says while the total index of mining production increased in some parts of the period 2011 to 2021, “it has been decreasing at an average annual rate of 0.7 percent during the last ten (10) years.”

Here is how different minerals fared during Q4:2021

Diamond production increased by 24.2 percent (1, 038 thousand carats) from 4, 290 thousand carats during the fourth quarter of 2020 to 5, 329 thousand carats during the same quarter of 2021. The increase was a result of intensified production strategy aligned with stronger trading conditions. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production registered a decrease of 18.0 percent (1,172 thousand carats) during the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with 6, 500 thousand carats during the third quarter of 2021.

Copper in Concentrates production commenced during the third quarter of 2021 following 6 years of nonproduction as the associated mine was undergoing liquidation. During the fourth quarter of 2021, an amount of 4, 225 tonnes of Copper in Concentrates was produced. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production decreased by 43.8 percent (3,292 tonnes) during the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with 7, 517 tonnes produced during the third quarter of 2021.

Gold production decreased by 49.1 percent (109 kilograms) during the fourth quarter of 2021, from 222 kilograms during the same quarter of the previous year to 113 kilograms during the period under review. Similarly, the quarter-on-quarter analysis reflects a decrease of 35.9 percent (63 kilograms) from 176 kilograms in the preceding quarter to 113 kilograms during the fourth quarter of 2021. The decrease was a result of the deteriorating lifespan of the mine arising from resource depletion.

Soda Ash production decreased by 4.4 percent (3, 116 tonnes) from 70, 159 tonnes during the fourth quarter of 2020 to 67, 043 tonnes produced during the period under review. On the other hand, quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production went up by 2.8 percent (1, 848 tonnes) during the period under review, from 65, 195 tonnes during the previous quarter.

Salt production went up by 27.9 percent (31, 385 tonnes) to 143, 751 tonnes during the fourth quarter of 2021, from 112, 366 tonnes during the same quarter of the previous year. On the other hand, quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that salt production registered a decrease of 15.4 percent (26, 075 tonnes) compared with 169, 826 tonnes during the third quarter of 2021.

Silver production commenced during the third quarter of 2021 following 6 years of non-production as the associated mine was undergoing liquidation. During the fourth quarter of 2021, 3, 626 tonnes of silver were produced. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that production decreased by 46.3 percent (3,131 tonnes) during the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with 6, 757 kg produced during the third quarter of 2021.

Coal production increased by 9.3 percent (40, 099 tonnes), from 429, 382 tonnes during the fourth quarter of 2020, to 469, 481 tonnes in the current quarter. The increase came as a result of the efforts made to meet increased demand from both domestic and international markets, particularly that new markets have been identified. On the other hand, quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that coal production decreased by 14.5 percent (79, 746 tonnes) compared with 549, 227 tonnes during the third quarter of the current year.

Copper-Nickel-Cobalt Matte, recorded zero production during the period under review. The affected mines are still under liquidation.

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