Gold production in South Africa slumped by 7,5% last year, hitting its lowest level since 1922, according to figures released by the Chamber of Mines on Wednesday.

Total production in 2006 was put at 275 119kg, the lowest level since a strike 84 years ago reduced production to 218 031kg, the chamber said in a statement.

Production in the final quarter fell by 9,3% in comparison to the same period in 2005.

Since the first discoveries near Johannesburg sparked a gold rush in 1886, South Africa has been the world's biggest gold producer.

The latest figures confirm a general downward trend. In 2005, output totalled 297,3 tons, or a 13,9% decline on the previous 12 months.
from M&G here