South Africa's Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday the country's gold production fell 15.6 percent to 52,228 kg in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, owing to a power shortage.

On a year-on-year basis the rate of decline in gold production was 16.8 percent in the first quarter of 2008. The key reason for the large drop was the national electricity emergency which effectively closed the gold mining industry from 25 to 31 January 2008, the Chamber said. (Reporting by James Macharia)

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