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mineral resources

South African mining overview

Mining is South Africa's economically established and resource-rich sector, with a high degree of technical expertise and the ability to raise funds for new developments. It has provided impetus for the development of a broad and effective physical infrastructure and has made a significant contribution to the establishment of secondary industries. South Africa, with its rich diversity of natural resources, is a major producer and supplier of a wide range of minerals. In 2014, it produced about 53 different minerals from 1,796 mines and quarries. 54 gold mines, 51 PGMs, 155 coal and 418 diamond mines, all of which are primary products. 96% of the platinum group metals, 74% of chromium, 26% of manganese, 26% of vanadium and 11% of gold, which account for the world reserves. As most of the identified mineral resources and reserves have been discovered through outdated exploration, the potential for discovering other world-class deposits in areas that have not yet been thoroughly explored by modern exploration technologies remains high.

Energy minerals overview

South Africa ranks top 10 in the world for coal and uranium resources. In 2014, the country ranked fifth in the world in terms of coal reserves, making it the seventh largest producer of coal in the world. The country's uranium resources rank seventh in the world and uranium output eleventh. In South Africa, uranium is produced primarily as a by-product of processing gold-bearing ores. South Africa's coal reserves are mainly located in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces.

South Africa has a very small oil and gas reserves, but it is possible to store large quantities of shale gas in the Karoo Basin. South Africa imports more than 60% of its raw materials for liquid fuel production, the rest comes from synthetic fuels, which are produced domestically from coal and natural gas.


As of the end of 2014, the world's proven coal reserves totaled 891.31 billion tons. The United States has the largest coal reserves, accounting for 26.6% of the global total, followed by Russia (17.6%) and China (12.8%). South Africa ranks fifth in the world, accounting for 7.5% of these reserves.

Black metal and mineral overview

Total ferrous metal production in South Africa increased by 13.0% to 108,848 kilotons (kilotons). Iron ore continues to be a major contributor to the production of ferrous metals, accounting for 74.5% of the total black minerals, followed by chrome ore and manganese ore, at 13.0% and 12.5% respectively.


Global chromium ore reserves in 2014 are estimated at 9,297 million tonnes (Table 67), South Africa at 73.7%, followed by Zimbabwe and Kazakhstan at 10.2% and 4.2% respectively. In 2014, global chromium ore production reached 23 million tons, down 17.4% from 2013, with South Africa leading 43.5%, followed by Kazakhstan and India at 19.3% and 8.3% respectively. According to the International Association of Chromium (ICDA), in 2014, about 96% of global chromium ore production was used for metallurgical production of ferrochrome. The world stainless steel output was 416 million tons, up 9.3% over 2013, mainly due to the increase in production in China. China continues to lead the global stainless steel market, accounting for 52% of global output, followed by Japan and India at 8% and 7% respectively.


According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of International Reconciliation, the global manganese ore reserves in 2014 were 570 million tons (Mt). South Africa, Ukraine, Australia, Brazil and India are among the top five manganese ore reserves in the country, reaching 490 million tons, accounting for 86% of the total reserves. Due to the increase in production, the global output of manganese ore increased by 9%. It is estimated that in 2015, it was 59.2 million tons. In particular, the output of China and South Africa increased by 20.5 million tons and 13.5 million tons respectively. China is the leader of 20.5 million tons, followed by South Africa and Australia, with 13.5 million tons and 7.4 million tons respectively. South Africa's production increased 23.6% over 2013 due to the increase in the company's production.
Illustration of the existing mine in Limpopo province (red part: South African energy and metallurgical special economic zone)