Mining in South Africa is one of the major activities that run the country’s economy. Whether it is the exploration, actual mining, or the processing of mined minerals, the whole chain has a significant impact on the overall GDP. The industry employs thousands of workers from the grassroots to top-level management. It remains one of the industries that take up a significant population of workers, both local and international.
Most of the mining workers are found at the lower/first-level stages of the process. This covers workers working directly in mines. The conditions may not be the most favorable considering that it involves having people getting underground and dealing with limited aeration.
Fortunately, advancements in technology and lots of research have helped this get better over time. Companies in the mining industry are coming up with better ways to protect their workers and support their work by offering enhanced safety measures. Improved technology also ensures that the minerals are mined sustainably to avoid depletion.
Mining and the Economy
But why is mining such a significant part of the economy, and why should you consider a career in it?
First, the industry employs thousands of individuals. This means that many people are able to have disposable income that they can use to support their family needs. When people have money/ purchasing power, they can spend and ensure there is money circulation. This chain is essential for economic growth.
Besides that, the minerals obtained from mining are the raw materials for most other industries. For example, the construction industry heavily relies on the mining industry to thrive. Minerals are used in building roads, facilities such as hospitals, and residential homes.
On the other hand, minerals support the development of other industries including the automobile, phone construction, and consumer goods just to mention a few. Anyone participating in the mining industry therefore directly or indirectly impacts the growth of the economy.
The economic impact goes beyond the creation of industries. Communities around the mining sites are directly impacted. They are the people that work in the mining sites which means they get employment. Additionally, compensation is given to the community depending on the mineral being mined.
Due to the mining activities happening in a region, businesses come up to provide services. The companies working here also help with training and skill impartation which means that people get empowered in the process.
Career Growth and Development
Besides the actual mining and mining-related activities, the sector also fosters an array of other activities/careers. These include engineering and geology. Therefore, a career in mining does not have to involve mining itself. It encompasses other areas where experts come in as specialists to research and support the mining process.
You can also look at it from the value addition perspective. Once the ore or raw mineral is derived from the ground, it has to undergo a refinery process. This also involves a different level of expertise and professionals. There are many bursaries available in South Africa for those looking to start in this industry.
The South African mining industry is even more lucrative. The country is known to be rich in multiple minerals including gold, platinum, vanadium, chrome ore, and diamond. South Africa’s mining industry has been growing tremendously over the past five years. In fact, it is said to have doubled by 2022 with the estimated total revenue being 747 billion rand.
Industrial-scale mining in South Africa may have started in 1850 with copper being mined, but the industry has since grown and diversified. There has been increased discovery of mineral deposits. Discovering minerals such as diamond and gold has been significant and a key driver of the South African economy to date.
Currently, South Africa is ranked among the leaders in global mining. This goes to show the potential that exists in this industry.
South Africa’s mineral production of diamond and gold is at its peak currently. The country is also known for being the largest and global leader in the production of chrome, manganese, platinum, vanadium, and vermiculite. Besides that, it is the third largest exporter of coal globally.
Guaranteed Returns on Investment
Such stats show the potential that exists in the South African mining industry. Anyone with the skills and knowledge in mining or related industries is likely to make a decent living. Investing in the mining industry also comes with guaranteed returns on investment.
While the industry still grapples with a lot of challenges such as labor rules and regulations, environmental concerns, health and safety issues, as well as the socioeconomic impact on the communities; the industry remains one of the most profitable. Whether you come in as an investor, or employee pursuing a career, you can be sure to make it big.