The South African mining industry is a key sector of the South African economy, and contributes a valuable part to the national GDP. The country’s mining output accounts for 9.5% of the country’s gross domestic product.
It is a major industry in Africa and is ranked as one of the world’s leading mineral producing countries, with exports exceeding US$80 billion per year.
Mining has been important to the economic development of South Africa throughout its history. The country has some of the richest mineral resources in the world, accounting for forty percent of global reserves of platinum group metals, and twenty percent tungsten.
An abundance of minerals has made South Africa one of the most mineral-rich countries in the world; it has more than 90 different minerals with about 40% of global reserves. Gold alone accounts for 22% of all exports.
Mining is a highly capital intensive and risky industry. Due to the high risk, mining companies tend to be publicly listed on stock exchanges. The companies listed below are the biggest mining companies in South Africa by market capitalisation:
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1. Anglo American Platinum – US$29.97 Billion
Anglo American Platinum Limited, formerly known as Amplats and AMC, is a mining company based in South Africa. It is the world’s largest primary producer of platinum group metals (PGMs), and one of the world’s largest producers of diamonds by value.
Anglo American’s operations are split primarily between South Africa, which accounts for about 60% of total production; and the rest of Africa (primarily Botswana), which produces the remainder.
Anglo Platinum is listed on the London Stock Exchange and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange where it trades under the symbol ‘AMS’.
It has diversified operations involving platinum, ferrochrome, nickel, iron ore and coal. Anglo Platinum has operations in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia and was formed as a result of a merger between De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited and Lonrho Plc.
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2. Impala Platinum Holdings – US$12.54 Billion
Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (IPL) is the world’s second-largest producer of the metal, after Anglo Platinum. It is headquartered in Sunninghill, Johannesburg, South Africa, and operates mines in south Africa and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings produces more than 6 million ounces per year. The company mines its platinum in South Africa, North and South America, and Australia. Impala sells platinum to customers all over the world.
It also has a number of exploration projects in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It has two joint ventures at its Platinum North project in Zimbabwe with each holding a 50% interest in two areas – Caurens and Kuruman II.
3. Sibanye Stillwater – US$11.82 Billion
Sibanye-Stillwater is a multinational precious metals mining company with operations in South Africa, the United States of America, and Australia. The company produces platinum, gold and palladium from mines in South Africa and the USA.
Sibanye-Stillwater is a multinational precious metals mining company headquartered in South Africa. The company is the largest primary producer of gold in South Africa, and one of the largest primary silver producers in the world. It also has significant platinum and uranium operations.
The company owns and operates five gold mines (Driefontein, Kloof, Beatrix, Tarkastad, Orugodendron) and five platinum mines (Amplats Rustenburg complex, Western Bushveld Complex, Eastern Bushveld Complex, Lonmin Marikana complex).
It also holds interests in a number of other operations including three uranium mine stakes (Kibali in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Langer Heinrich and Khumalos in Namibia); four exploration projects (Gounkoto in Mali; Non-Metallic Resources Sukari project in Namibia; Doxa in South Africa; Dolo Hill in South Africa) and several base metal exploration projects.
Sibanye-Stillwater is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SBGL), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE: SGL) and is also a constituent of the FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index.
4. Gold Fields – US$8.43 Billion
Gold Fields Limited is an international mining group, headquartered in the City of Johannesburg, South Africa. The company was founded in 1888 by Cecil Rhodes.
It is the world’s third largest primary producer of gold and one of the largest producers of platinum group metals (PGMs), with mining and related operations on five continents. As of February 2018, the company employs over 17,611 people and has a market capitalisation of $8.34 billion (roughly R133 billion).
The company’s operations are based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It has mining interests in Ghana and Peru, and exploration projects in the USA and Canada. In addition to its large-scale mines, Gold Fields also owns and operates numerous other small-scale assets in South Africa.
Gold Fields produces around 2.6 million ounces of gold per year, making it one of the biggest gold producers on the planet. The mine produces at an average grade of 3.3 g/t gold, which is one of the highest grades seen on earth.
The company also has significant coal assets on two continents, as well as energy assets in Australia and Ghana. Gold Fields has a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) with secondary listings on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
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5. Northam Platinum – US$7.02 Billion
Northam Platinum is one of the largest platinum group metals producers in the world, and is transforming into a diversified mining company with significant growth potential.
Northam Platinum Ltd is a mining and exploration company, which is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) and is a constituent of the JSE All-Share Index.
It is the fifth biggest platinum producer in the world, accounting for 9% of global platinum output. It is also one of the largest producers of PGMs (platinum group metals), with a 15.9% share of global PGM production. It is South Africa’s biggest mining company by market capitalisation and revenue.
The company operates three underground mines, namely Elandsrand, Western Deep Levels and Bafokeng, all located near Rustenburg, North West Province in South Africa; and two open-cast mines at La Coipa and Nkomazi, both located in the north-eastern part of South Africa.
6. AngloGold Ashanti – US$7 Billion
AngloGold Ashanti Limited is a top-tier gold producer with a geographically diverse portfolio of assets, which are located in the key gold producing regions of South Africa, the Americas and Australia. The Company’s operations also extend to Ghana, Mali, Namibia and Tanzania.
AngloGold Ashanti is one of the world’s leading producers of gold from mines that are predominantly all-pit, open-pit operations. This lower-cost operating model has enabled the Company to produce at some of the lowest cash costs in the industry.
AngloGold Ashanti has a robust portfolio of development projects encompassing several greenfield projects, brownfield expansions and exploration opportunities in proven mining camps globally.
The Company’s strategy is to grow production organically and through targeted accretive acquisitions that leverage its existing global footprint. The Company will continue to pursue a high degree of operational excellence while ensuring that superior returns are delivered to shareholders.
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7. Exxaro Resources – US$4.32 Billion
Exxaro is the largest and most diversified mining company in South Africa, with a range of competitively positioned products in thermal coal and iron ore.
It is also involved in a number of exploration and development projects for energy, base metals and industrial minerals. Exxaro operates five open-cast coal mines, two coking coal mines and two underground coal mines, as well as an iron ore mine.
In addition, it has an extensive pipeline of brownfield expansion projects. The company is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Exxaro Resources Limited is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, as well as the New York Stock Exchange. It has interests in coal, iron ore, manganese and uranium production operations located primarily in South Africa, Mozambique and Australia.
It is a leading diversified resources group in Southern Africa with an integrated portfolio of thermal coal, metallurgical coal, iron ore, manganese and uranium and energy operations. The group employs over 14,000 people at its operations across Southern Africa and Australasia and has a market capitalisation of US$4.34bn.
8. African Rainbow Minerals – US$3.96 Billion
African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) is a South African precious and base metal mining group. It is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in Johannesburg, South Africa and is a constituent of the JSE All-Share Index. The company has operations in South Africa and Namibia, producing copper, nickel, platinum group metals, gold and silver.
The Group’s combined assets consist of the Palabora Copper Mine in the Limpopo province of South Africa and the Tsumeb Mine in the Otjozondjupa Region of Namibia.
ARM also holds a significant stake in the Mihalic-Altenberg Complex (MAC) located within the Bushveld Complex of northern South Africa. The MAC project consists of Mihalic and Altenberg mines and milling facilities.
In addition to its core assets, ARM has a strategic stake in the emerging Tshipise Coal Project (Tshipi), which is situated in northern South Africa. Tshipi is an underground coal mine with a resource base of 2.9 billion tonnes of coal deposits.
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9. Harmony Gold Mining Company – US$3.34 Billion
Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited is an internationally diversified gold mining and exploration group. It is the largest listed gold producer in South Africa.
The company’s principal activities comprise open-pit and underground gold ore mining, and the production of gold dore bullion, co-product metals and non-ferrous metals. In addition, the company has significant interests in exploration for gold and other minerals.
The group operates five major mines in South Africa and one in Mali: three mines are located near Carletonville, two are located near Welkom and one mine is located near Morila in Mali. The group also owns or has interests in a number of exploration projects in South Africa, Mali and Ghana.
It produces gold, silver, lead, zinc, and copper; and distributes refined precious metals. The company also engages in coal mining in Australia. In addition, it provides mineral processing services to other mining companies; and engages in the sale of vehicles and spare parts.
Harmony Gold Mining Company was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.
10. Royal Bafokeng Platinum – US$1.77 Billion
Royal Bafokeng Platinum is the biggest platinum producer in Africa and has been operating at this site since 2007. It has a production capacity of 1.5 million ounces of platinum per year, making it one of the top 10 largest platinum producers in the world.
The mine is located close to the city of Rustenburg in North West Province, about 100km from Johannesburg, and employs over 2,000 people.
The company owns an extensive processing plant with a number of advanced technologies including two x 6.5m diameter ball mills that produce a high grade concentrate with a purity level of 99.95%. The plant also has three x 5 m diameter carbon-in-leach (CIL) cells that produce an additional 60% recovery of platinum group metals (PGMs).
The mine is owned by Royal Bafokeng Holding, which was formed for the purpose of acquiring this asset, and is managed by Anglo American Platinum. Mining operations are contracted to Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Impala), which holds a 51% shareholding in Royal Bafokeng Holding.