COAL PRODUCTION FALLS 25.1% IN 2023 Q4

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COAL PRODUCTION FALLS 25.1% IN 2023 Q4
COAL PRODUCTION FALLS 25.1% IN 2023 Q4

Africa-Press – Eswatini. During the last quarter of 2023, coal production volumes significantly fell by 25.1 per cent to record 96 481 metric tonnes, from 128 815 metric tonnes in the third quarter.

This is according to the Central Bank of Eswatini (CBE) economic review and inflation report for March 2024. The CBE highlighted that the decrease was attributed to a slow uptake in sales and the high base from the previous quarter. Similarly, quarried stone production declined by 5.5 per cent to record 42 563 cubic metres in the quarter under review, compared to 45 055 cubic metres in the previous quarter. Low quarried stone production continued to be driven by a muted government capital programme, particularly for road infrastructure. Notably, gold volumes accelerated by 88.3 per cent to 9.16 grams in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to 4.87 grams in the previous quarter.

Significantly

Overall, mining activity receded significantly in the last quarter of 2023, driven by developments in both the mining of coal and quarried stone. The CBE further reported on other selected economic indicators which include electricity production and sales. It was reported that total electricity sales rose by 2.7 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in the fourth quarter of 2023, up from 1.8 per cent in the previous quarter. Growth mainly benefitted from an increase in sales volumes to the ‘irrigation power and bulk’ category, which grew by 5.7 per cent during the quarter under review compared to a 1.3 per cent growth in the previous quarter. The increase depicts that there was growth in crop production, particularly in irrigated farms.

Notably, electricity sales to the ‘domestic’ and ‘commercial’ categories grew by a slower 2.1 per cent and 0.7 per cent, respectively, in the quarter ended December 2023. The total number of customers grew by 5 per cent to 261 694 at the end of December 2023, driven by a 4.6 per cent increase in commercial customers. Meanwhile, statistics sourced from the Eswatini Water Services Corporation (EWSC) indicated that total treated water consumption grew by a marginal 0.3 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in the fourth quarter of 2023, from a double-digit growth of 14.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2023. Mixed developments were observed within the consumption categories.

Treated

The ‘commercial’ category, which accounts for 50 per cent of total treated water sales, grew by 1.5 per cent in the quarter ended December 2023, notably lower than 21.2 per cent in the quarter ended September 2023. On the contrary, sales to the ‘domestic’ category decreased by 0.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in the quarter under review, compared to an increase of 8.4 per cent in the previous quarter. Treated water connections from both ‘domestic’ and ‘commercial’ categories grew by 2.7 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively, between the two quarters under review.

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