JOHANNESBURG, South Africa’s mining sector is slowly but surely emerging from the doldrums with the latest available statistics showing that mining output increased by 6.5 per cent year on year in November 2017.

The largest positive contributor was the iron ore sector whose production rose by 20.7 per cent and contributed 2.5 percentage points to the overall increase. Coal production increased by 8.5 per cent, while the production of platinum group metals increased by 12.3 per cent.

Economists here are optimistic that this will contribute positively to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Ian Cruickshanks, chief economist at the South African Institute of Race Relations, said Tuesday: It means that worldwide, there is demand for the mining commodities which we produce, it’s also going to help us with our exports they will have higher values.

However, a significant negative contributor was gold whose production fell by 8.3 percent. Cruickshanks said this was caused by a reduction in gold demand globally.

Perhaps what that shows is that there is less demand for gold as a hedge against inflation, and as we know, worldwide, inflation is relatively low, especially in developed market economies.

With the world economy continuing to grow, it is expected that this will help boost the demand for South African mining export commodities.