In the beginning of 2016, South Africa’s mining production fell the most since at least 1980 after the country’s biggest gold and platinum mines halted unprofitable output.
Production declined 18% in March from a year earlier, accelerating February’s revised contraction of 8.3%, Statistics SA spokesperson Juan-Pierre Terblanche said earlier this year.
Expectations were for a drop of 12%, according to a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts.
“This is a radical structural shift for South Africa,” said Mike Schüssler, chief economist at economists.co.za. “The commodities bust is coming home to roost. These are the worst numbers South Africa has ever had.”
The retreat was led by platinum-group metals, which plunged 24%, and coal, which was 16% lower. Producers of these commodities have been cutting output and spending in South Africa as they seek to remain in business amid plunging prices. Coal has fallen 56% since the beginning of 2011 while platinum is down 40%. About 30 000 jobs are at risk in the nation’s mining industry, the Solidarity labour union said last month.
Production of iron ore fell 21%, contributing 3.7% to March’s mining-output decline.
Safety stoppages have also hurt production at South Africa’s biggest precious metals miners including Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and AngloGold Ashanti. South Africa is the world’s biggest platinum producer.
While mining makes up only 7.5% of South Africa’s economy, it represents about 40% of the country’s exports, affecting the current and trade accounts, according to Schüssler.
With R500 billion spent on equipment and wages, mining has “a very strong multiplier effect” on the economy, he said.
xMMP (exploration, Mining & Minerals Processing) is a mining “ERP” solution that covers the Total Life of Mine (‘LOM’). Managing mineral rights (tenements) claims, exploration, drilling, EPCM for the development phase, actual mining, stockpiles, plant, shipping and dispatching all the way to mine rehabilitation.
In these uncertain times, it is imperative to manage mining operations correctly in order to navigate the dangerous waters of the industry and steer your ship to safety.
You need the right management tools to help you do this. xMMP (exploration, Mining & Minerals Processing) is a mining ERP solution that covers the Total Life of Mine (LoM), managing mineral rights (tenements) claims, exploration, drilling, EPCM for the development phase, actual mining, stockpiles, plant, shipping and dispatching all the way to mine rehabilitation.
This includes automating management and administration functions of properties for gold, mineral, base metal and oil exploration and mining companies plus audit for due diligence, native title negotiation and dispute resolution; as well as core drilling capabilities linked to projects to be ready for mine development phase.
PAM 1 is your minerals resource planning tool for operations planning, progress booking and finally survey measurement. Key components were added to Microsoft AX in order to model, plan and track the mining activities and the effects of stock pile blending in a stacking area. Grade tracking may also be implemented if the laboratory analysis is available. The integration to the maintenance module (SAM) for haulage bookings against available assets can also be added.
Another unique systems feature of xMMP is the models for mass balance tracking of the constituent resource elements. This added value is supported downstream by bringing these constituents to the market at required quality levels. Release (liberation) of the commodity from its geological location and separation (concentration) are fundamental operations: PAM 1 provides visibility of the liberation activity with the potential for integration to specialist real-time vehicle and equipment SCADA systems.
Mine planning is a multidisciplinary procedure that aims to guarantee the profitability of a mining operation in changing and uncertain conditions.