…while production of other minerals decline
Latest data from the statistics agency, Statistics Botswana shows that Botswana recorded an increase in diamond and coal production during the second quarter of 2017, while production of other minerals continued to shrink.
According to Statistics Botswana’s mining production report released last week year-on-year production of minerals increased by 1.5 percent and the quarter-on-quarter analysis reflects an increase of 13.2 percent.
Statistics Botswana stated that the leading contributor to the increase in mining production was diamonds contributing 11.1 percentage points to the overall increase. The statistics agency has indicated that diamond production recorded an increase of 12.6 percent during the second quarter of 2017 when compared to the second quarter of 2016 and added that the quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that diamond production increased by 13.2 percent as compared to the previous quarter.
“This increase was largely due to the improved trading environment and international demand for diamonds,” said Statistics Botswana, following the recent De Beers outlook which indicated that Botswana’s market for diamonds is expanding as an increased number of women occupying more senior positions in the workplace are buying more diamond jewelry for themselves in recognition of their achievements or simply because they want and they can. Following De Beers’ outlook that the expanding diamond jewelry consumer market in the US, China, India and Japan could boost demand for rough diamonds from Botswana, the statistics office indicated Debswana’s Orapa plant which was previously under partial care and maintenance resumed diamond production due to the improving trading conditions.
Statistics Botswana Statistician General Annah Majelantle noted that coal also recorded an increase in production during Q1 2017. “Coal production recorded the highest increase since the third quarter of 2014, increasing by 63.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017 as compared to the corresponding quarter of 2016 and the quarter-on-quarter analysis shows an increase of 17.2 percent. “The increase in coal production was as a result of Botswana Power Corporation increased uptake at Morupule B Power plant,” said Majelantle.
Majelantle indicated that although mining production improved during Q1 2017, production of other minerals such as salt, soda ash and gold decreased marginally off-setting growth in the mining sector. Gold production declined by 14.5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 as compared to production during the same quarter of 2016 and production decreased despite the slight improvement in gold prices.
Soda Ash production registered a decrease of 25.2 percent during the second quarter of 2017 when compared to the same quarter of 2016 and the quarter-on-quarter comparisons reflects a decrease of 12.7 percent. Salt production recorded a decrease of 28.3 percent in the second quarter of 2017 when compared to the second quarter of 2016 with the quarter-on-quarter comparison showing a decrease of 11.8 percent. Statistics Botswana has indicated that the decline for both soda ash and salt was mainly due to the plant refurbishment which resulted in low production during the month of May.
Copper-Nickel-Cobalt Matte, Silver and Copper in Concentrates recorded zero production during the period under review.
Gold production declined by 26.0 percent in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the same quarter of 2016 and this decline was as a result of unstable commodity prices, according to the statistics office. When compared to 2016 fourth quarter gold production during the first quarter of 2017 decreased by 37.2 percent. Statistics Botswana has indicated that a decrease of 39.0 percent in Soda Ash production was registered during Q1 2017 when compared to the same quarter of 2016 and quarterly comparisons reflects a decrease of 52.4 percent. According to the agency salt production recorded a decrease of 31.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017 when compared to the first quarter of 2016.