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The Refining and Manufacture of Precious and Non-ferrous Metals
This report focuses on the refining and manufacture of the precious metals, gold and silver, and metals of the platinum group (PGMs), as well as the production of non-ferrous base metals from ore, mattes and scrap. According to the Chamber of Mines, all mining-related activity contributed 18% or R263bn to GDP in 2014 with direct mining activities contributing 8% and input and manufacturing industries 10%. The mining sector provides more than 495,000 direct and 800,000 indirect jobs. The PGM sub-sector was the largest employer in 2014, employing 190,000 people and paying R36bn in salaries.
A Struggling Sector
The manufacture of precious and non-ferrous metals takes place against the backdrop of a struggling global mining sector arising from low global demand driven by reduced demand from China and low commodity prices. The South African Chamber of Mines asserted in May 2015 that 50% of the domestic mining industry is loss-making as a result of weak commodity prices, low to negative volume growth and high cost inflation. In an attempt to regain profitability companies are restructuring and retrenching staff. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) estimates that 10,000 mine workers were retrenched in 2015 and some stakeholders believe that 32,000 jobs are at stake.
The Refining and Manufacture of Precious and Non-ferrous Metals describes the domestic sector, highlights current conditions, including the uncertainty that exists in the regulatory environment, and discusses factors influencing the success of the industry. Thirty-six industry players are profiled, including global giants, Anglo American Platinum, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Glencore Operations South Africa. Also profiled are smaller players such as Manganese Metal Company (Pty) Ltd, Non-Ferrous Metal Works which focuses on the smelting of aluminium, copper and lead, and Zirconium producer, Eggerding South Africa.