SAfrica gold output drops 13.6 percent

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s gold production dropped 13.6 percent last year to the lowest level since 1922, the Chamber of Mines said Tuesday.

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 24 Feb 2009, 8:53 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:57 AM

South Africa had already been eclipsed by China as the world’s largest gold producer in 2007, but the latest drop left the country in third place after the United States, the chamber said.

South Africa produced 220,127 kilogrammes of gold last year, the lowest level since 1922, when the country was gripped by a violent miners’ strike that crippled production, the chamber said in a statement.

The 13.6 percent drop was also the steepest single drop in gold production since the same strike prompted a 13.8 percent decline in 1922, it added.

South Africa’s key mining industry suffered a turbulent year, beginning with nationwide power shortages that forced the mines to close from January 24 to 31 -- the first time gold mines had been shuttered since the Anglo-Boer war at the turn of the last century, it said.

Gold remains one of South Africa’s biggest exports, accounting for seven percent of all overseas shipments. Gold mines employ 166,000 people, while the industry accounts for 2.5 percent of the economy, according to the chamber.

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