A recent survey by the Department of Mines has revealed that production in the mining sector has been declining over the last 10 years, with the latest results showing that production during the fourth quarter of 2017 declined by 9 per cent.
The survey which covered all mining activities relating to the extraction of diamonds, copper-nickel, copper, gold, soda ash, salt, coal, semi-precious stones and the quarrying, revealed that during the last ten years (2007-2017), production in the sector that has been the backbone of the economy declined by 4.5 per cent.
“Even though there are fluctuations over the period covered, on average, production has been decreasing. Mining production growth decreased in most parts of the period from 2007 to 2017. Production has also been decreasing at an average annual rate of 4.5 per cent during the last ten years,” said the Department of Mines in the survey report.
Statistics Botswana indicated that latest results show that growth in diamond production decelerated sharply from 14.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2016 to 0.2 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2017.
“The decline came as a result of weak international demand for the commodity during the quarter under review. The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that diamond production during the fourth quarter of 2017 decreased by 9.0 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2017,” said the Acting Statistician General Dr. Burton Mguni.
Mguni stated that copper production recorded a decrease of 38.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared with the preceding quarter while soda ash production declined for the fourth consecutive quarter, decreasing by 9.3 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2017.
Salt production fell by 17.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to production during the same quarter of 2016 and the quarter-on-quarter comparison shows a decrease of 32.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to the third quarter of 2017, according to the Statistician.
He noted that while coal production registered an increase of 4.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 when compared to the same quarter of the previous year, the quarter-on-quarter comparison reflects a decline of 3.0 per cent. “Copper-Nickel-Cobalt Matte and Silver recorded zero production during the period under review. The instability and uncertainty of commodity prices had negatively affected the mines, thus leading to the provisional liquidation of the concerned companies,” he said.