The reality of mining in South Africa

Mining is essentially what started many towns in south Africa due to the mineral rich soils that we have been lucky to be blessed with, just  a few of the minerals that are buried deep within South African soils are Gold, Platinum as well as diamonds. Although a very lucrative industry and essentially one of the largest contributors to South Africa’s yearly income mining is an extremely dangerous industry.

As all mining is underground it can be extremely dangerous and unforgiving as the earth is very unstable as is the nature of Mother Nature. Over the years reports of mining accidents have been high and the number of lives lost even higher. Due to the nature of these accidents and loss of lives miners all over South Africa have been campaigning for higher salaries, better medical aid, higher pension packages as well as danger pay which when thinking about it is only fair seeing that they are in one of the most dangerous industries in South Africa.

Unstable earth is not the only danger the workers in the mining industry have to face, danger chemicals that these workers have to work with everyday run the risk of explosions and serious fires, a few years back in the mining town of Secunda an explosion rocked one of the mine shaft towers killing at least forty men, these are the incidents that the public is privy to other smaller incidents that are not such big news happen every day like an explosion in one of the tanks in the same area as the major explosion killed one of the technicians after he sustained third degree burns from the explosion, smaller accidents like these happen every single day going unnoticed by the public.

This is just to put you in the picture of what some South Africans have to endure while making South Africa richer so before commenting on a mine strike think twice.

The current status of mining in South Africa

In South Africa, mining has always been an important source of economic wealth. Since the days of the first diamond mine in Kimberley, mining companies in South Africa have been popping up like weeds. South Africa has a lot of natural wealth and the country’s resources extend mostly to gold and platinum mining.

As an exported commodity, gold is valued very highly, and platinum, due to its rarity, is also considered a very precious metal. Because of this, South African gold fetches a high price on many markets and is in great demand internationally. However, there have been many years of unrest in South African gold mines because of the status of the miners. For a long time, miners were treated badly, in that in terms of labour, they were not being paid well, and their living conditions were appalling. Miners’ unions have been making efforts to remedy this, but in a country struck with unemployment, the status of mining is affected negatively by the way miners are treated.

Though mining jobs are easy to find, since those who are unskilled are easy to train in this regard, mining companies still struggle to find workers who will commit to the job, since there are plentiful strikes. As such, the economy of South Africa, which is so intricately tied to the mining industry, is heavily dependent on these mines. Every time a miner’s union calls for a strike, the economy of South Africa teeters like a large rock on a precipice.

Gold mining in South Africa, being such an important source of income to the country, is an occupation that should be held in high esteem, especially considering the dangers of it. And yet, we do not seem to value our miners as highly as we should. As such, the country risks being negatively affected by gold mining, because so much importance is placed on it.

Where will the future of mining in the country take South Africa? One can only speculate that the country will keep in the same traditions as it has for tens of years, and hope that the conditions on miners in their workplace will improve.

Mining in South Africa Is the Reason for Development

South Africa has been called a “world leader” when it comes to mining. The reason for this is simple: South Africa is and has always been rich in resources. South Africa contributes immensely with its minerals, especially with platinum, gold, coal and diamonds.

When driving around South Africa you cannot help noticing small mining villages and massive mines with trains actively going about taking minerals away. They are dotted all over the country and with good reason. South Africa is proudly full of reserves of all kinds of minerals that are just waiting to be mined. It is thanks to all this mining that South Africa has developed the way it has into the best economy in Africa.

Sources differ with the time in which the first proper mine was set up, but the first mining company will be the one that was established in 1846, it was the first commercial mining company. The company was established in none other than Cape Town, which is a very busy trade post and have almost nothing to do with mining today, believing Namaqualand to be rich in copper.

1867 was the beginning of profitable mining in South Africa when a diamond was found on the banks of the Orange River, which in turn led to Kimberley pipes being found. After this the next big discovery only happened in 1886 with Witwatersrand Gold Rush, which was apparently the biggest gold field created. Gold mining grew immensely over time, even till the early 20th century. South Africa still stands second with gold mining today.

Mining has given many South Africans employment and helped South Africa’s economy. With mining, South Africa is always somewhere in the top with exports. It stands second with gold and third with coal. It seems that South Africa is indeed rich in resources and quite a lot of these resources are highly important in our daily lives. Mining has slowly developed years back to where it is now, a world leader. Who knows how South Africa will grow in the mining industry in the next few years that lie ahead.