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Mining of Precious Metals and Minerals: Gold and Uranium, Platinum, and Diamonds
Mining’s contribution to the South African economy continues its long term decline. Gold’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP reached a peak of 16.7% in 1980, and had declined to only 1.3% in 2016. Policy and regulatory uncertainty, including the Mining Charter, continue to weigh on the industry and hamper investment decisions. The sector remains constrained by sub-optimal commodity prices, ageing infrastructure and operational and cost challenges brought on by increasing depth of operations and declines in productivity. The stronger rand also influenced the sector in 2017.
State of The Industry
About 75% of South Africa’s gold mines and two thirds of its platinum mines are unprofitable or making a small profit.South Africa nevertheless has gold reserves of 6,000 tonnes, which is more than 10% of the world total, and exported 119.6t of gold worth R65.1bn during 2017 and sold worth R17.7bn locally. The country’s platinum-group metals reserves of 63,000t represent more than 90% of the world total. The local diamond mining sector was the world’s sixth largest producer in terms of volume during 2017, producing 9.7 million carats worth US$3.1bn, and exporting 9.9 million carats worth US$1.3bn. While total gold demand declined during 2017, demand for gold jewellery increased, as did demand for diamonds. Local and export sales of gold, platinum-group metals and diamonds amounted to R178.1bn during 2017, and these sectors employed 306,197 people
This report deals with the mining of precious metals and minerals in South Africa including uranium as a by-product of gold mining, the report describes current conditions, including uncertainty in the regulatory environment, and discusses factors influencing the success of the industry. The report profiles 42 companies including De Beers Consolidated Mines and Trans Hex which recorded output increases of 23.8% and 59.5% respectively.