Extractive Industries


South Africa is one of the world's and Africa's most important mining countries in terms of the variety and quantity of minerals produced that include gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt and natural gas. It has the world's largest resources of chrome (33%), gold (41%), vanadium (32%), manganese (80%) and PGM's (70%). South Africa is the world’s leading producer of chromium (37.5%), ferrochrome (39.8%), platinum (76.5%), manganese (19.8%), vanadium (38.3%) and vermiculite (38.5%). Gold was once a keystone to the South African economy but the country’s position as the world's largest gold producer was usurped by China in 2007 after a steady decline in production over the past decade, and it now accounts for less than 10% of global production. For production of gem diamonds South Africa is ranked third largest in Africa (13.4%) the fifth largest in the world (6.5%). Diamond production decreased 15.4 per cent in 2008 in response to the drop in demand and world market price. South Africa is the second largest world producer, after Australia, of titanium (38.7%) and zirconium (32.6%) minerals.

South Africa is the leading producer for nearly all of Africa's metals and minerals production apart from diamonds (Botswana and the DRC), uranium (Niger), copper and cobalt (Zambia and the DRC) and phosphates (Morocco, including Western Sahara). South Africa has 96% of Africa’s total proven recoverable coal reserves and ranks sixth in the world with regards to such reserves; it is the dominant coal mining company in Africa and the world’s fourth largest coal exporter ranked along with Colombia. 


The country has less than 0.1% of Africa’s oil and gas reserves and produces only one third of its crude oil and a half of its natural gas requirements respectively. Importantly and in contrast to its nascent upstream petroelum sector, however, it accounts for 15.6% of Africa’s refining capacity and also produces syn-fuels (including natural gas) from its coal (see above).