Mining has a significant impact on the economy of South Africa, and the industry’s contribution to GDP is substantial. Mining contributes $50 billion per year to South Africa’s economy or about 2% of GDP. The copper, gold, molybdenum and platinum group metals (PGM) sector is the largest contributor to the nation’s non-energy export earnings.
In addition to being a major provider of essential metals, South African mines also produce base metals such as nickel and vanadium. The mining sector employs approximately 2.5 million workers, and the industry contributes nearly 10% to South Africa’s annual GDP. The sector is also vital to the country’s industrial output, with mines accounting for 27% of all manufacturing equipment in the country. South Africa has ten major mining districts. The Witwatersrand and the Northern Cape regions, which host most of the world’s platinum group metals (PGM), are two of the most important mining regions in the country.
The mining sector has also been a major source of controversy. The apartheid regime used the mineral wealth of the country to support its economic system, and many South Africans believe that the country is still benefiting from the spoils of apartheid by drawing on this wealth. The mining industry has also been involved in the local development of some parts of South Africa.
Mining companies have made significant contributions to education, including the construction of schools and other facilities in areas with high concentrations of workers from these industries.