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SSouth Africa’s political, social and economic landscape was built by its mining sector. Although gold, diamonds, platinum and coal are the most well-known among the minerals and metals mined, South Africa also hosts chrome, vanadium, titanium and a number of other mined minerals.
Mining in South Africa has been a contentious issue since 15-year-old Erasmus Stephanus Jacobs discovered South Africa’s first diamond, the Eureka, in Hopetown in 1867. It kick-started what historians call the Mineral Revolution, which made few European opportunists wealthy beyond measure, and saw hundreds of thousands of men leaving their homes to become fulltime mineworkers.
Today, the mining industry remains one of the biggest contributors to the country’s economy with an estimated worth of R20.3 trillion (US$2.5 trillion). It is the world’s fifth largest mining sector in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), contributing eight percent to South Africa’s GDP.
With such a rich history of mining innovation, it simply makes sense that South Africa plays host to some of the biggest mining industry gatherings in the world. In fact, the Investing in African Mining Indaba is the world’s largest mining investment conference. It’s clear that South Africa makes the perfect venue for any mining-sector event.
KEY MINING FACTS:
- In 2017 the mining sector contributed R312 billion to the South African gross domestic product (GDP)
- De Beers, the world’s largest diamond mining company was born in South Africa
- As the world’s top producer, 68% of the world’s platinum is mined in South Africa
- South Africa is the world’s 6th biggest producer of gold and 4th biggest producer of diamonds
- A total of 464,667 people were employed in the mining sector in 2017
- Each person employed in the mining sector has up to nine indirect dependents
- The mining sector has, for many years, attracted valuable foreign direct investment to South Africa