Mining up 15.6% year-on-year to September 2021
Growth in Botswana’s mining output in 2021 accelerated mainly due to rapid expansion of the diamond industry, the Bank of Botswana (BoB) 2021 annual report shows. According to the recently released report, mining output increased by 15.6 percent in the year ending September 2021, compared to a contraction of 22.2 percent in the year to September 2020.
“The expansion in the mining sector resulted from an increase in output of most sub-sectors, led by Mining of Diamonds which grew by 16.3 percent in the year to September 2021, compared to a contraction of 22.6 percent in the previous year,” the report says.
Increased Debswana production
BoB notes that post-relaxation of most COVID-19 travel restrictions, rough diamond demand gained traction. “The good performance of the mining industry was mainly attributable to Debswana’s increased production, which included 6.4 million carats produced in the third quarter of 2021, being 32.6 percent more than the 4.8 million carats produced in the corresponding period in 2020,” the report notes.
“Lucara Diamond Corporation (Karowe Mine) also increased production by 9.6 percent to 97 412 carats in the third quarter of 2021, from 88 909 carats in the corresponding period in 2020.”
The report further shows that the larger output was in response to overall robust global demand for rough diamonds in the third quarter of 2021, with positive midstream sentiment reflecting a strong demand for diamond jewellery, particularly in the key markets of the United States and China.
The BoB report notes that soda ash output also increased by 14.8 percent in the year ending September 2021, compared to a contraction of 19.6 percent in the corresponding period in 2020. It attributes this to increase in demand for sodium chloride (salt) from neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“Coal output also increased by 1.5 percent from a contraction of 11.5 percent,” says the report.
“Mining Support Service Activities and Other Mining and Quarrying also recorded increases of 4.9 percent and 1.7 percent from contractions of 18.2 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively. Mining of Gold and Other Metal Ores recorded a lower contraction of 10.1 percent from a larger contraction of 19.5 percent.”