South Africa’s most commonly mined minerals
South Africa has a strong mining industry; taking the spot for the fifth largest mining sector in the world in terms of GDP value. South Africa’s mining reserves are estimated to be worth approximately R20 trillion. Let us look at which minerals are bringing in the most money in South Africa.
Coal is an important resource because it fuels industrialisation. Coal is used to generate electricity, and is used in the production of steel and manufacturing of cement. South Africa produces about 224 million tonnes of coal a year and is the world’s third largest exporter of coal.
Gold is a precious metal that plays an important role in South Africa’s economy. South Africa produces 15% of the world’s gold and holds 35% of the world’s gold reserves. South Africa’s two most important gold mines, the East Rand Mine in Boksburg and TauTona in Carltonville are among the deepest mines in the world.
South Africa is the most significant diamond mining country in the world. It prides itself on seven large diamond mines, which De Beers Consolidated Mines Company control. Since 2005, roughly 15,8000,000 carats of diamonds have been mined – that’s 3,2 tonnes of diamonds. Visitors may visit the Cullinan Diamond Mine, the largest diamond mine in the world, where some of the world’s most famous and beautiful diamonds were discovered in the Gauteng Province.
South Africa is the largest producer of platinum in the world, having produced an excess of 163,000 kgs in 2010. The most important platinum mines are located in the Rustenburg area, also known as the Bushveld Igneous Complex. This area contains the world’s richest platinum reserves and accounts for 90% of the global platinum mining. Platinum is used mainly in the manufacture of laboratory and dentistry equipment and jewellery.
Together with Zimbabwe, South Africa owns some 90% of the world’s chromite reserves. In 2005, 7,490,000 metric tonnes of chromite were mined in South Africa, which accounted for 100% of the world’s total production. Chromite is used in the production of metallic chromium, which is used in the stainless steel industry because of its resistance to oxidation, even at high temperatures.
South Africa is the leading producer of iron ore in Africa and the seventh-largest in the world. Iron ore is mined in the Northern Cape, Thabazimbi and the Limpopo Province. South Africa has about 1000 million tonnes of crude ore reserves and 650 million metric tonnes of iron reserves.
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