This was the warning from mining analyst, Mmamokgethi Molopyane, who was speaking to Semphete following the release of Statistics South Africa’s (StatsSA) report on the mining industry in 2015.
According to the report, the total number of people employed in the mining industry as at the end of June 2015 was 490 146.
“The mining of platinum group metal ore division employed the largest number of persons (198 952 or 40,6%), followed by mining of gold and uranium ore with (104 369 or 21,3%) and mining of coal and lignite (97 952 or 20,0%),” the report stated.
“Employment in the mining industry declined from 538 144 in 2012 to 490 146 in 2015 (a loss of 47 998 jobs). The biggest losses in jobs were recorded in mining of gold and uranium ore (a loss of 39 715 jobs), followed by mining of platinum group metal ore (a loss of 7 812 jobs) and other stone quarrying, including stone crushing and clay and sandpits (a loss of 4 512 jobs),” the report continued.
“As companies sell off some of their assets, especially in the North West; some are laying off people. Some of the new companies coming in prefer to use machines and that does not help with job creation,” Molopyane said.
In terms of mine employees, Bokone Bophirima was the largest contributor with 133 428 (37,8%) persons working in the industry, followed by Mpumalanga (78 518 or 22,2%), Gauteng (53 764 or 15,2%) and Limpopo (37 005 or 10,5%).
The report further revealed that the total income for the mining industry in 2015 was R419,5 billion.
“The total income represents an increase of 2,2% per annum over the income reported in the corresponding survey of 2012 (R393,4 billion). Comparing 2012 and 2015, large increases were reported for mining of coal and lignite (+R21,9 billion), mining of manganese (+R6,8 billion) and mining of diamonds (including alluvial diamonds) (+R6,4 billion). However, large decreases were reported for mining of platinum group metal ore (-R15,5 billion), mining of iron ore (-R7,4 billion) and mining of gold and uranium ore (-R3,3 billion),” the report stated.
Between 2012 and 2015, the mining of coal and lignite group gained the biggest percentage share of income (3,7 percentage points) (from a percentage contribution of 24,4% in 2012 to 28,1% in 2015). The mining of platinum group metal ore lost the biggest percentage share (5,4 percentage points) in the same period (from 27,1% in 2012 to 21,7% in 2015).
Mpumalanga was the province with the largest income from sales of goods in the mining industry in 2015 with R114,4 billion.
“The province with the second largest income from sales of goods was North West (R84,7 billion or 21,3%), followed by Northern Cape (R69,5 billion or 17,5%) and Limpopo (R45,3 billion or 11,4%),” the report stated.