The mining industry in South Africa is the fifth largest in the world, and today it accounts for more than 5% of the nation’s GDP. Moreover, the sector remains one of the country’s most important sources of employment, providing 16.2% – or nearly 1.4m – of the total formal non-agricultural jobs. The labour unrest that was seen in 2012 highlighted some of the challenges faced by the sector as it adapts to subdued global markets, ageing mines and overburdened infrastructure. While these challenges are considerable, the nation’s resource base and the rising demand from some of the world’s more buoyant markets offer some promise to the sector. The value of the nation’s non-energy mineral wealth – estimated by Citibank at $2.5trn in 2010 – underwrites the future development of this vital sector.
This chapter contains interviews with Simon Scott, Acting CEO, Lonmin; and Sipho Nkosi, Chief Executive, Exxaro Resources.