The Index of Mining Production declined in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015, new data by Statistics Botswana has shown. The Stats Brief on Indices of Physical Volume of Mining Production by the statistics body showed that Index of Mining Production stood at 90.2 in the first quarter of 2016, which was a negative year-on-year decline of 5.6% from 95.6 during the 2015 first quarter.
However, the index shows an increase of 15.8% from 77.9 during 2015 fourth quarter to 90.2 during 2016 first quarter. The quarterly increase was following another increase of 18.7% from 65.6 during the third quarter of 2015 to 77.9 during the fourth quarter of the same year. These quarterly increases are mainly attributed to production of diamonds and copper-nickel-cobalt matte.
“The main contributor to the decline in growth of mining production was diamond production, which contributed negative 4.6 percentage points. Although less in weight, copper in concentrates also contributed to the overall Index of Mining Production decline with negative 4.3%,” Stats Botswana said.
However, despite problems at BCL Mine, copper-nickel-cobalt matte, contributed positively to overall mining production alongside soda ash and gold with contributions of 2.8 percentage points, 0.5 and 0.1 of a percentage point respectively during the first quarter of 2016.
“Notwithstanding their positive contribution to the overall index, the three minerals’ combined weight is insignificant to influence the overall year-on-year percentage change in the total mining production to positive growth”.
Stats Botswana said diamond production shows the sixth consecutive year-on-year decrease, having declined by 5.3% in the first quarter of 2016 as compared to the first quarter of 2015. It however said when looking at the quarter-on-quarter changes, diamond production during 2016 first quarter increased by 11.7% as compared to production during 2015 fourth quarter.
“This follows an increase of 15.5% in production from the third quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of the same year. The increase in the recent quarter-on-quarter productions can be indicative of improvement in trading conditions leading to the need to increase production to supply the demand.”
Production in copper-nickel-cobalt matte increased by 35.8% in the first quarter of 2016 when compared to production during the first quarter of the previous year. Comparison of production during the first quarter of 2016 and the fourth quarter of 2015 shows an increase of 78.7%. This follows an increase of more than two fold from the third quarter of 2015 to the fourth quarter of the same year, Stats Botswana noted.
Gold production increased by 16.0% in the first quarter of 2016 as compared to the same quarter of 2015. This increase was as a result of higher than expected gold recoveries from the ore. However, comparison of production during the current quarter and the last quarter of 2015 gives a decrease of 14.7%.
Equally, soda ash production increased by 67.3% in the first quarter of 2016 when compared to production during 2015 first quarter. Production during 2016 first quarter gives decrease of 6.4% when compared to production during 2015 fourth quarter.
Salt production increased by 14.8% during the first quarter of 2016 when compared to production during 2015 first quarter. However, comparison of production during the first quarter of 2016 and the last quarter of 2015 shows a decline of 12.7%.
On the other hand, coal production decreased by 9.8% in the first quarter of 2016 as compared to the corresponding quarter of 2015. Comparison of the first quarter of 2016 and 2015 quarter four gives a decline of 15.6%. The decrease was largely attributable to weak domestic demand owing to operational challenges experienced during the first quarter of 2016 at the Morupule B power plant.
Silver and Copper in Concentrates recorded zero production during the period under review and for the preceding quarter. “This is as a result of the provisional liquidation of the concerned companies which necessitated halting of production at the respective mines.”