Electra Mining Africa is Southern Africa’s biggest mining, electrical, automation, manufacturing, power and transport trade exhibition.
The Electra Mining expo is returning after a Covid-19-enforced absence. The expo, with its 50 years of history, will take place at the Johannesburg Expo Centre from 5 to 9 September. The event is billed as a unique platform for the mining, manufacturing, automation, electrical and power industries.
Mining’s importance to the SA economy
Mining is a mainstay of the South African economy, with Minerals Council South Africa CEO Roger Baxter reporting that the value of production exceeded USD 59.3 billion for the first time in 2021. Representing a more than 30% increase on 2020, it helps explain the significant impact mining has had on easing the extent of South Africa’s fiscal crisis as the industry recovers from Covid-related lockdowns.
Last year had “surprising features”, reports Baxter, all of which were due to commodity prices rising by nearly 40% in dollar terms and by nearly 20% in rand terms, the latter due to the strengthening of the rand/dollar exchange rate at 12%.
The physical volume of mining production recovered from a decline of 12.4% in 2020 to record growth of 11.6% in 2021. This largely reflects the movement in mining’s gross domestic production of 11.9% in 2020 and 11.8% in 2021, reaching USD 28.3 billion.
Volatile commodity markets
Commodity markets have experienced increased volatility in recent months, and prices were slightly softer than earlier during 2021. This was the result of several factors: The varied impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, energy shortages in Europe and China, coupled with adverse weather in the United States, speculation about future Chinese steel making, the Chinese authorities’ intervention in commodity markets, and continued uncertainty about the demand for and stocks of green commodities.
“This instability is expected to continue,” warns Baxter. These trends slowed down commodity price increases towards the end of 2021, with 11% dollar increases and 8.6% rand increases.
Dollar prices for South African commodities increased by about 37% during 2021. These trends fluctuated widely among the different commodities, with coal 81% higher versus gold at only 1.5%. Comparing 2021 with the pre Covid-19 period, dollar prices were 56% higher.