In the midst of rampant devastating effects of novel COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the index of local mining production has declined by 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2020.
According to the index of the physical volume of the mining production first quarter of 2020 report, mining production stood at 84.5 during Q1 2020 compared to 86.6 during Q1 of 2019.
The main contributor towards the 5.6 percent in mining production index – according to the report – were diamonds contributing negative 5.5 percentage points in the period under review.
Pako Moshaga, Credit Manager at BancABC, said mining downstream industries suffer a ripple effect whenever the mining industry is pressed as it is the case at the moment during Covid-19.
He observed that prior to lockdown the sector had been facing poor sales in the Chinese market – a major buyer over the coronavirus outbreak which had been further fuelled by travel limits worldwide.
The quarter-on-quarter analysis shows a decrease of 3.7 percent from the index of 87.8 during the fourth quarter of 2019 to 84.6 observed during the reference period, the report highlighted.
“Diamond production declined by 5.7 percent during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter of the previous year. At the same time, the quarter-on-quarter analysis displays that production registered negative growth rate of 4.0 percent during the first quarter of 2020 compared to the preceding quarter,” Statistics Botswana said forecasting more falls in future.
The drop is attributable to mining of lower grade ore from one of the key operating mines and tests experienced by the other mine in relation to commissioning of new plant groundwork.
Gold production increased by 7.2 percent during the first quarter of 2020, as result of higher than expected from gold recoveries after declining for the four consecutive quarters of 2019.
Moreover, Soda Ash production declined for the third consecutive quarter, decreasing by 12.8 percent during the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
“The decrease in production is attributable to the inefficiency of the plants to operate at full capacity. On the other hand, the quarter-on-quarter analysis shows that Soda Ash production increased by 3.1 percent during the period under review,” said the custodian of national statistics.