ECONOMY: INDUSTRY AND MINERAL RESOURCES
The most developed industrial activities are those related to mining: from industries that produce sulfuric acid to those that produce synthetic gasoline, superphosphates, plastics (Modderfontein, Coalbrook, Sasolburg, Kilipfontein and Cape Town). The steel industry is flourishing, with factories in Middelburg, Pretoria, Vereeniging, Newcastle, Witbank, Johannesburg. Alongside it operate different metallurgical complexes (copper, tin, aluminum, etc.), which operate both for internal and foreign requests. There is a wide range of products from the mechanical industry, from agricultural machinery to mining equipment, located in Johannesbrug, Durban, Port Elisabeth and Cape Town. In the growing automotive sector, there are also some foreign companies. The textile sector stands out for cotton and wool mills and for the associated clothing industry, whose main office is in Bloemfontein. Various other industries work national raw materials, from food (meat, fruit and vegetable canning factories, sugar factories, breweries, oil mills, etc.) to footwear and tobacco manufacturing. Finally, South Africa is a good producer of paper: the latter industry absorbs a considerable number of employees. According to historyaah, South Africa is traditionally the “country of diamonds and gold”; not to mention that its mineral resources are much more varied and in some cases grandiose. Although now mined at considerable depth and therefore at increasing costs, gold is an astounding South African record; the area of Witwatersrand, or simply Rand; numerous other deposits have been added to it, such as those of Odendaalsrus, Elsburg, West Driefontein, Western Deep Levels, East Daggafontein, Vaal Reef, Freegold, etc. Gold minerals also contain significant quantities of uranium, which is processed in various plants; the extraction of silver is also extremely important. As for diamonds, South Africa has a colossal production (over 15 million carats in 2006 between real gems and industrial diamonds); this activity belongs to the very powerful De Beers company, which controls a large part of the world trade in stones. For diamonds, the Kimberley mines, the Premier mine near Pretoria, where the largest diamond in the world was found in 1905, the Cullinan, weighing approx. 1000 carats, finally the Jagersfontein and Koffiefontein deposits. Alluvial diamonds are extracted from the Vaal bed west of Kimberley and at Port Nolloth, at the mouth of the Orange River; with specially equipped boats, diamonds are also extracted from the seabed. Platinum must be added to gold and diamonds. Coal deposits are also very important, of which South Africa is the leading African producer (245 million tonnes in 2006), among the highest at the international level; the largest coal area is located between the provinces of the Free State, Mpumalanga and Kwazulu-Natal. The first findings of a certain amount of oil, located in the underwater seabed off the coast of the Cape, date back to 1982, but the oil found is not enough for it to be cheap. extraction. South Africa is also very well equipped for metal ores, especially for iron ones, but it is even more so for chromite, manganese and antimony; the production of vanadium and nickel is also conspicuous. Still among the metal ores there are, but at a great distance, copper, tin, tungsten. Among the non-metallic minerals asbestos prevail (South Africa holds the continental record), natural phosphates, mica and sulfur. Grandiose salt flats are found in Port Elizabeth. The logical premise of industrial expansion was a careful economic policy for the development of the energy sector; the energy produced is almost entirely of thermal origin; a hydroelectric complex is in operation on the Orange River and a nuclear power plant is located near Koeberg.
South Africa is one of the world’s leading mining countries and one of the main producing countries for several mineral resources. Above all gold, platinum, iron ore, manganese, nickel, coal and chromium are mined. However, due to declining production, South Africa has lost its role as the world’s largest gold producer to China, Australia, Russia, the USA and Canada. – One of the most important mining regions is the north of the Free State Province with its gold and uranium deposits, which are located in a 480 km long arc (“Golden Arch”) in the area of the geological Witwatersrand Basin. The gold is extracted from depths of up to 3,466 meters and refined in Germiston. Uranium mining began to a greater extent in the mid-1950s. Platinum (largest mining near Rustenburg and Brits, province north-west) is found with chrome, Titanium and vanadium mainly in the Buschveld complex (Limpopo province). The most important mining centers for iron are Thabazimbi and Sishen, for manganese Postmasburg, for diamonds Kimberley and Namaqualand, for lead, zinc and silver Aggeneys (Northern Cape Province), for copper Phalaborwa and Namaqualand. Hard coal is mined mainly in the Mpumalanga Province (near Witbank) as well as in the northwest of KwaZulu / Natal and in the Free State Province.