South Africa has long been at the forefront of mineral mining. The industry was a driving force behind the country’s economic development. While its reserves of some minerals have peaked, mining is still a major source of income.
Here at Scribante Mining, we partner with some of the country’s leading companies in mineral mining. Let’s take a look at what minerals South Africa is still famous for and where it sits in the world rankings.
Mineral Mining Throughout South Africa
Along with diamonds, gold was one of the first minerals that made the country rich. Its gold output has been in decline in recent years – the Minerals Council of South Africa stated in 2018 that 75% of the country’s gold mines are now unprofitable.
That said, South Africa is still the 5th largest miner of gold in the world. A 2018 survey concluded that there are roughly 6000 tonnes of gold left in South Africa’s mines, so there’s still plenty there.
Diamonds were first discovered in South Africa in the mid-19th century. Since then, it’s been a bit industry for the country. For example, production decreased by 20% between 2010 and 2011. There’s still money to be made, though, as the country’s diamonds are destined for both industrial and commercial markets.
Coal mining is a massive industry for South Africa, both for global export and the country’s power needs. It’s the third-largest exporter of coal in the world, and the fuel makes up 77% of the country’s energy supply. Roughly half of South Africa’s coal mining comes from open pits, and 5 companies account for nearly 85% of all production.
Platinum mining is a lucrative business, as the metal is used in everything from technology to jewellery. South Africa is the world leader in platinum and palladium mining, and, in 2005, it produced 78% of the world’s supply. More recently, it has been tied with Russia for the largest producer of platinum in the world.
South Africa has the third-largest reserves of uranium in the world. The industry began as a by-product of gold mining, with most of the country’s uranium coming from the Witwatersrand area. Despite having such massive reserves of the material, the first dedicated uranium mine wasn’t announced until 2016.
Chromium might not be glamorous in the same way as gold or diamonds, but it’s an incredibly important metal in industrial production. In 2005, South Africa accounted for 100% of the world’s production of chromium, and the country is home to around 75% of the world’s viable chromium reserves.
Final Thoughts on Mineral Mining in South Africa
This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything mined in South Africa. However, it’s an illustration of how lucrative the mining industry still is in the country. Despite some of the traditional sources slowing down, new ones pop up all the time.
Scribante Group is intimately connected to the mining industry in South Africa. If you’d like to know more or see how you could get involved, reach out to us for more information.