Mining industry in South Africa - statistics & facts
South Africa is incredibly rich in natural resources, with large reserves of some of the most valuable minerals on the planet found below its surface. Industrial scale mining in South Africa began in the 1850’s with the establishment of the first copper mine. Then, in 1867, diamonds were discovered in Hopetown, and in 1870 gold was discovered. Since then, the mining industry has become hugely important to the country, contributing roughly 219.5 billion South African Rand (roughly 12.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2021 to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Furthermore, the total value of mining industry merger and acquisition transactions in South Africa reached nearly 9.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2022.
Precious metals in South Africa
Some of the most well-known commodities produced in South Africa are precious metals such as platinum and gold. South Africa is home to the Witwatersrand Basin, which holds the world’s largest known gold reserves. Although South Africa has the second-highest gold production in Africa, it is significantly lower than other leading gold producing countries worldwide such as China and Australia. South Africa once had the greatest gold mining market share in the world, but output has declined massively since the 1970’s. Politics, high costs, and trade union action are some of the reasons for this decline, as well as a shift towards platinum group metals (PGMs).
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