The year was 1867 and the discovery of a single diamond on the shores of the Orange River changed the landscape and economic standpoint of South Africa dramatically.
Fortune seekers rushed to South Africa for their chance to find more diamonds and discovered the large pocket of diamonds in Kimberley. Although completely out of diamonds today, the big hole of Kimberley is still a busy tourist destination. This hole was man-made and is the biggest in the world, all in the name of finding diamonds.
With the discovery of gold at Pilgrim’s Rest and Barberton in 1886, South Africa was the scene of a massive gold rush. Gold fields were discovered all across South Africa and the country suddenly changed into an economic giant. Although gold and diamonds are well off their peak today, South Africa is still the second biggest gold producer in the world.
Gold and diamonds are not the only reason South Africa is at the head of the economic status in Africa, South Africa also boasts being the top producer in the world of no less than 5 other valuable minerals including platinum, magnesium and chrome. That is not the most impressive part as South Africa also holds second place for the top producing country of minerals such as palladium, ilmenite and zirconium.
With the discovery of coal, South Africa became one of the mineral richest countries in the world and lies third in the world of top producers of coal. Coal is used mainly for power production and therefore became a valuable export mineral of South Africa.
South Africa’s rich mineral sources are not only there to enrich the government as an estimated 500 000 personnel are recruited to work in mines over South Africa, thus contributing to the largest form of employment in South Africa. Although safety concerns where high for the employees and fatality rates a big problem, the mine owners and employees worked together to almost eliminate mine fatalities completely over the past few years. South Africa is not only a beautiful country, but also a rich country.