25 Feb 2009

2008 South African gold output lowest for 86 years

7:24 am on 25 February 2009

Gold output in South Africa in 2008 fell to its lowest level since 1922.

The Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday gold output fell 13.6% to 220,127kg in 2008 - the lowest level since the 218,031kg in 1922.

The sector accounts for about 2.5% of gross domestic product in South Africa.

However, it is now the world's number three producer behind China and the United States.

South Africa was previously the world's top gold miner from 1905. Peak output reached 1000 tonnes in 1970.

The national grid almost collapsed early last year forcing mines, factories and smelters to temporarily close.

Closure of mines due to the power shortage from 24 - 31 January last year, was also the first time the sector had been closed since the Anglo Boer war in 1900-1902.