When it comes to the quality and quantity of mineral production world-wide, the South African Mineral Industry is considered to be one of the most important mining nations.

South Africa has the world’s largest reserves of chrome, gold, vanadium, manganese and PGM’s and is the leading producer for nearly all of Africa’s metals and minerals production. The South African mineral industry can be broken down into five broad categories – Gold, Diamonds, Coal and Vanadium.

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Did you know that South Africa holds roughly 80% of the world’s known manganese reserves as well as 72% of the world’s known chromite ore reserves? In 2005 South Africa was found to be the ninth-largest producer of aluminium, the largest producer of alumino-silicates, chrome ore and ferro-chromium. South Africa was also found to be the second-largest producer of manganese ore and the ninth-largest producer of nickel in the same year.

The South African Mineral Industry has seen significant restructuring and changes since the early 90’s with the traditional “big six” mining houses namely Anglo American / De Beers, GenCorp / Billiton, Goldfields, JCI and Anglovaal. These companies traditionally dominate South Africa’s Mineral Industry.

The phasing out of the concept of mining houses has opened the door for consulting engineers serving the mining industry to be involved in projects which were previously the preserve of the mine owners themselves. The clear trend now is to outsource much of the engineering function, which means that mining houses no longer have to carry the overhead of permanent engineering staff when they are not engaged in projects. There is also a move within government towards accommodating small mining companies, creating opportunities for junior operations to start up.

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