Factors that favour and hinder gold mining in South Africa


  • South Africa's gold region is well known and well explored – knowledge of the area is extensive
  • Gold mining in South Africa is a wellestablished industry with technical skills
  • South Africa has large gold reserves and resources but accessing these will involve going even deeper underground. Mining companies invest heavily in innovation and skills training to build an even greater understanding of the resource base and how to mine it
  • South Africa has a well-developed infrastructure (roads and railway lines) which assists mines to do business
  • The industry has its own local refinery, the globallyrecognised Rand Refinery. Rand Refinery is the largest integrated single-site precious metals refining and smelting complex in the world. Since 1920, it has refined nearly 50,000 tons of gold - almost one third of all gold mined worldwide


  • Depth and temperature. South Africa's gold sector is a world leader in deep-level gold mining. Deep-level underground mining, however, brings with it risks and hazards which require constant commitment and adherence to safety and health standards and procedures. High temperatures and high humidity levels in some underground mines create difficult working conditions and can decrease productivity
  • Costs in general are rising steadily, in particular the cost of mining at depth; salaries and wages; and electricity
  • Electricity and water supply. The industry has experienced costly electricity supply constraints and water shortages
  • Lack of investment in mining and emerging markets
  • Skills shortages. The gold mining sector experiences a skills shortage, particularly of mechanised mining skills. Skilled employees are essential to the sustainability of the gold mining industry. Training and development in the industry focuses on developing the scarce skills needed at mines and on improving the employability of local residents