The decline of South Africa's Transnet's capacity in rail and ports has cost the mining industry an estimated 50 billion rands ($2.78 billion) in lost opportunities in 2022 alone, news24 online news portal reported, citing the mining industry employers' organisation Minerals Council.

The inadequate rail performance cost bulk mineral exporters 35 billion rands in lost revenue last year.

Declining rail deliveries due to crime and cable theft, onerous government procurement rules, vandalism, idled locomotives bought in a corrupt transaction and poor maintenance are the main reasons for falling productivity at rail and ports, said Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter.

South Africa's coal exports have fallen despite prices reaching a high last month at $452 per tonne.

The country's coal exports reached 72 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) between 2015 and 2019 but fell to 50 MTPA in 2021. 

The council estimates that 2022 will be no better, Baxter said, adding the treasury needs to consider emergency funds to maintain the rail corridors for bulk commodities, recovering the investment from improved tax collection from mineral exports.

(Editing by Seban Scaria