Mining helps drive South Africa’s GDP growth

Statistics SA said yesterday eight of the 10 industries recorded positive gains in the first quarter, with finance, mining and trade making the most significant contributions.

The mining industry showed annualised growth of 18.1%, contributing 1.2%, boosted by the production of platinum group metals, iron ore, gold and chromium.

Manganese, coal and diamond miners meanwhile recorded lower production figures in the first quarter, Stats SA said.

Finance was the largest industry according to the government agency, contributing 20% to the total value added in the quarter, with transport and mining equal fifth on 9%.

Stats SA said South Africa’s real GDP grew 1.1% quarter-on-quarter, translating into a seasonally-adjusted annualised growth rate of 4.6%.

However it has not quite recovered to pre-pandemic levels, following the slump during the nationwide lockdown last year, and was down 3.2% year-on-year unadjusted.

Real GDP rose to R761 billion for the first quarter of 2021, 2.7% below the R782 billion a year earlier, and similar to the R764 billion seen five years ago.

The National Union of Mineworkers was quick to respond to the news of mining being a big driver of growth, confirming it had submitted its consolidated key wage demands for the years 2021-2023 to the country’s gold sector employers.

The union said last month its demands, which included a 15% pay rise, were “fairly reasonable and could be easily met by the employers”.

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