Why gold mining matters

The gold mining industry has played a significant role in the historical development of South Africa and continues to play an important role today, not only on a macro-economic level but on local and community levels too.

This is despite the country's gold mining production having declined in recent years. However, the gold mining industry still benefits the economy and South Africa's people in many ways:

  • It was the second largest mineral exporter at R61 billion* in 2016

  • It produced some 142.1 tonnes* of gold in 2016

  • Gold sales amounted to some R64 billion* in 2016 of which 95%* were export sales

  • It currently employs some 116,479 people, with each employee supporting between five and 10 dependants

  • The industry currently pays its employees some R28.5 billion* in salaries and wages per annum

  • Employment is provided for workers from rural communities which in turn results in the transfer of funds back to these areas

  • In the tax year 2015-2016, about R12.5 billion* was paid in corporate taxes by the mining industry as a whole with some R600* million paid in royalties by gold and uranium producers

  • Dividends are paid to shareholders, between 25% and 45% of whom are in South Africa

  • The industry purchases goods and services which stimulates industrial production and the provision of services. For example, gold mines consume some 15% of electricity generated in South Africa

  • Gold is used in other South African industries such as refined gold and jewellery making

  • The industry creates employment in other industries

  • Gold mining has a role to play in the development of human resources (training) and infrastructure such as schools, colleges, clinics, roads and housing

  • Gold export earnings have a positive impact on the balance of payments, foreign reserves, monetary policy and on the level of business activity in the country

  • Gold mining attracts foreign capital to the country, via the JSE or direct investment

* Estimate based on latest statistics