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The Importance of Mining Minerals in South Africa

Mineral mining is one of South Africa’s most important economic drivers. Importantly, the main minerals mined in SA are high value, meaning they lead to economic growth and technological development.


Scribante has been involved in the South African mining industry for more than 80 years. In that time, we’ve seen the impact mining has had on the South African economy. Here’s a brief roundup of the importance of mining minerals in South Africa.


The Main Minerals Mined in SA


Before looking at the economic impact of mining in South Africa, it’s worth listing the minerals most prevalent in the country and SA’s place in the global rankings. These include:


· Platinum – 1st

· Manganese – 1st

· Titanium – 2nd

· Vanadium – 3rd

· Gold – 11th

· Iron – 6th


This is by no means a complete list, but it illustrates the position South Africa holds in the global mining industry. In fact, SA is one of the world’s leading mineral mining countries. Unsurprisingly, this has a major impact on the economy.


Economic Impact of Mining in South Africa


In 2013, mineral mining contributed more than 97 billion rand to the South African economy, making it a fairly major source of wealth. But it’s worth breaking this figure down into its constituent parts to understand the economic impact mineral mining has.


Employment


An obvious positive impact of any industry is employment. Mineral mining contributes highly skilled and high-value jobs to the economy. These jobs range from mineral extraction and processing to surveying, engineering and conservation. Along with better education and higher wages, skilled employment also translates to more money re-entering the national economy.


Infrastructure Development


The presence of mineral extraction sites requires infrastructure such as roads, but also housing and supportive services. This leads to development in previously remote areas, drawing in more people. Although this shift was most obvious in the earlier days of South Africa’s mining development, it’s still happening now.


Industrialization


South Africa is the most industrialized country on the continent, thanks in part to the presence of mineral mining. Mining itself requires industrialized practices, but so do mineral processing and shipping and mining equipment production. The level of wealth present in the mining industry unsurprisingly spurred rapid industrialization in the country.


Technological Development


Technological development is closely linked with industrialization. The increasing complexity of mineral extraction (such as mining to greater depths and the rise of conservation/rewilding) spurs further technological development in the industry.


In turn, this creates jobs in secondary sectors, such as machinery and general tech. But the presence of wealth also helped South Africa shift to a more service-based economy. For example, mining companies with lots of money require financial services, giving rise to SA having the largest stock exchange on the continent.


Final Thoughts


The fact that the main minerals mined in SA are high value certainly helped with economic development. But there is still plenty to be developed in the South African mining industry. If you’d like to get involved and invest in the mineral extraction market, get in touch with Scribante.

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