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South African gold production highest in four years

By Hazel Davis

Output of the precious metal rose by 24.9 per cent in December 2019 compared to the previous year

South African gold output surged the most in four years in December 2019. It rose by 24.9 per cent from a year earlier – the biggest increase since January 2016 –according to a statement from Statistics South Africa.

Total mining production grew by 1.8 per cent, the first expansion in five months.

This figure, however, reflects an output slump in November and December 2018 thanks to the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union strike. Sibanye-Stillwater – the largest individual producer of gold from the country – estimated that it lost more than $100m (£76m, €92m) in production as a result of the strike, and gold output was around 110,000 tons lower than expected over the five months.

South Africa used to be the world’s top gold producer but various issues, including labour problems, higher costs and policy problems, meant that Ghana overtook it in 2019.

Mining firm Gold Fields has reported a jump in profit and says it intends to place new shares to raise around $269m (£206m, €247m ) to help fund its new Salares Norte mining project. The project is expected to have a life of around 11 years and an average annual production of 450,000 ounces of gold over the first seven years, according to the miner. On February 12, AngloGold Ashanti sold Mponeng, its last South African mine and the world’s deepest, to its rival Harmony Gold for $300m.

FURTHER READING: Gold price prediction for January 2020: yellow metal will remain buoyed and may go higher

FURTHER READING: Is gold a good investment? Five ways to buy it – the pros and cons

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