The Future of Mining in South Africa: Sunset or Sunrise?


256 Pages
Read an excerpt
Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more


The future of mining in South Africa is hotly contested. Wide-ranging views from multiple quarters rarely seem to intersect, placing emphasis on different questions without engaging in holistic debate.
This book aims to catalyse change by gathering together fragmented views into unifying conversations. It highlights the importance of debating the future of mining in South Africa and for reaching consensus in other countries across the mineral-dependent globe.
It covers issues such as the potential of platinum to spur industrialisation, land and dispossession on the platinum belt, the roles of the state and capital in mineral development, mining in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the experiences of women in and affected by mining since the late 19th century and mine worker organising: history and lessons and how post-mine rehabilitation can be tackled.
It was inspired not only by an appreciation of South Africa’s extensive mineral endowments, but also by a realisation that, while the South African mining industry performs relatively well on many technical indicators, its management of broader social issues leaves much to be desired. It needs to be deliberated whether the mining industry can play as critical a role going forward as it did in the evolution of the country’s economy.



Published by
Published 28 December 2018
Reads 0
EAN13 9780639986661
Language English

Legal information: rental price per page 0.01€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Report a problem

First published by the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) in 2018
142 Western Service Rd
Johannesburg, 2191
ISBN 978-0-6399238-2-6
© MISTRA, 2018
Production and design by Jacana Media, 2018
Text editors: Terry Shakinovsky, Wandile Ngcaweni, Susan Booysen
Copy editor: Linda Da Nova
Proofreader: Christopher Merrett
Designer: Alexandra Turner
Set in Stempel Garamond 10.5/15pt
Printed and bound by Creda Communications
Job no. 003413
When citing this publication, please list the publisher as MISTRA.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted,
in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise),
without prior written permission of both the copyright holder and the publisher of the book.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be
lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any
form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar
condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.Contents
Chapter 1: Introducing the debates
– Salimah Valiani
Chapter 2: Towards Mining Vision 2030
– JJooeell NNeettsshhiitteennzzhhee
Chapter 3: The gold of the 21st century: A vision for South Africa’s platinum group metals
– Edwin Ritchken
Chapter 4: Transformation in South Africa’s mining industry
– DDuummaa GGqquubbuullee
Chapter 5: Greening South African mining through the Fourth Industrial Revolution
– Ross Harvey
Chapter 6: Formalising artisanal and small-scale mining: Problems, contradictions and
– HHiibbiisstt KKaassssaa
Chapter 7: Private property? Village struggles over meanings of land and mining revenues
on South Africa’s platinum belt
– Sonwabile Mnwana
Chapter 8: Cleaning up after mines are long gone: Understanding the complex dimensions
for inclusive development
– Shingirirai S. Mutanga
Chapter 9: A feminist perspective on women and mining in South Africa
– Salimah Valiani and Nester Ndebele
Chapter 10: Trade union organising in the mining sector: A structural perspective on
worker insurgency and shifting union strategies
Chapter 11: The mining-energy nexus, climate change and prospects of just transition:
Reflections of a labour educator
– Hameda Deedat
Chapter 12: The future of mineral mining: Pathways for a wellbeing economy approach
– Lorenzo Fioramonti
Concluding remarks: Exhausting the debates: Moving to action?
– Salimah Valiani
List of abbreviations
HOW CAN THINGS BE DIFFERENT in South Africa’s mining industry? How can a
shift away from the low-skilled, labour-intensive model change the work and workings of
the industry? How can mining-affected communities, and the nation more broadly, benefit
equitably from the country’s mineral endowments? What are the links between mineral
extraction and industrialisation? What are the ideal roles of the state, private corporations
and unions in a 21st century mining industry?
This research project was born of these big questions. It was inspired not only by an
appreciation of South Africa’s extensive mineral endowments; but also by a realisation that,
while the South African mining industry performs relatively well on many technical
indicators, its management of the broader social issues leaves much to be desired. Critically,
the principle needs to be debated whether, going forward, the mining industry can play as
critical a role as it did in the evolution of the South African economy.
Collectively, the authors pursue these questions with a transdisciplinary lens, in line
with the defining principles of the research endeavours of the Mapungubwe Institute for
Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). Questions about the interplay of mining with the
environment and climate change come into the mix. So do issues around the experiences of
women – arguably the ‘lesser gender’ in the mining industry more than in any other major
At the same time, the way in which the historical roots of dispossession take shape in
mining industry dynamics today are examined, whether in the desperation and ‘illegality’
of informal mining or the trials and tribulations of mining-affected communities. Beyond
this is the critical challenge brought out sharply in the sprawling mining dumps across the
face of South Africa: what happens after mines are long gone?
This volume brings together political economists, sociologists, policy experts,
environmental experts, community activists, historians and labour activists. The process of
producing the volume was highly collaborative. The authors first gathered to conceptualise
the chapters collectively and then assembled to hear one another’s findings and to refine
these, both collectively and individually. The editor played the role of interlocuter,
prodding the contributors to consider relevant insights from other contributors in the
multiple rounds of chapter drafting.
In the course of these interactions, new issues came to the fore. For instance, while the
history of South African mining is treated against the backdrop of gold mining, the decline
of the latter has coincided with the emergence of platinum group metals (PGMs), of which
South Africa is estimated to have some three-quarters of world reserves. Currently, though,
this sub-sector is facing serious headwinds of low prices, high costs, community unrest and
uncertain trajectories of global demand. However, viewed against the emergent hydrogen
economy and growing demand for jewellery, PGM mining does seem to have a long-term
future barely appreciated.
More often than not, workers in the mining industry, as in most other economic sectors,
are treated as an appendage, a cost to be managed down. In appreciation of their centralrole, the issue of their involvement at all levels of the industry – from the bowels of the
earth to the skyscrapers where the product of their labour is apportioned – has to form a
critical part of the examination of the political economy of South African mining. All
matters to do with raising the mining sector onto a higher trajectory have to place workers
at the centre, including skills development, the opportunities that should come with the
development of a mature mining cluster and the organisational adaptations required of a
labour union of the 21st century.
As this book goes to press, the debate on the Mining Charter, meant to improve the
sector’s inclusivity, has reached a crescendo. This is understandable, given the weaknesses
identified in several chapters in this volume. At the same time, the spate of accidents in
South African mines has intensified; there is concern that, after a steady decline in the past
10 years, worker fatalities may be trending upwards.
It is the hope of the authors that the issues raised in this volume will encourage broader
discussion on the role of mining in a South Africa that is striving to improve its growth
and development. Nay more, if the ideas contained in this volume were to serve as catalyst
for action, MISTRA would have more than achieved its ambition.
MISTRA wishes to express its profound appreciation to the team that put this volume
together, from the authors to the peer reviewers, editors and project coordinators. Our
gratitude is also extended to the Department of Science and Technology, Anglo American
and AngloGold Ashanti who funded this project, as well as the many other contributors to
MISTRA’s operations and sustainability.
– Professor Sibusiso Vil-Nkomo
Chairperson: MISTRA Board of GovernorsAcknowledgements
THE MAPUNGUBWE INSTITUTE for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) would like to
express its gratitude to the coordinator and project leader, Salimah Valiani, who edited this
volume. Thanks go to Wandile Ngcaweni, who provided valuable support and assistance,
and to the former MISTRA researchers who were part of this project from its inception:
Mcebisi Ndletyana, David Maimela, Patience Kelebogile Salane and Temoso Mashile.
Thank you to the MISTRA staff who contributed to the successful outcome of this
project: the project management directorate led by Xolelwa Kashe-Katiya, supported by
Dzunisani Mathonsi and Towela Ng’ambi; Lorraine Pillay for fundraising and financial
management activities, with support from Magati Nindi-Galenge; Terry Shakinovsky for
editing the manuscript and Susan Booysen and Barry Gilder for their valuable
contributions in exercising oversight and safeguarding the integrity and quality of the
We also wish to express our thanks to the authors who contributed to this volume.
MISTRA is honoured to have worked with them. Our gratitude also goes to the peer
reviewers for their valuable assessments of the draft chapters.
MISTRA extends its appreciation to Jacana Media which was responsible for the design,
layout and production of this publication.
Intellectual endeavours of this magnitude are not possible without financial resources.
Special thanks go to the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Anglo
American Platinum and AngloGold Ashanti without whom this project would not
have been possible.
MISTRA would also like to acknowledge the donors who were not directly involved
with this particular research project but who support the Institute and make its work
possible. They include:
• Airports Company of South Africa Limited (ACSA)
• Albertinah Kekana
• Anglo American
• Anglo Coal
• Aspen Pharmacare
• Batho Batho Trust
• Belelani Group
• Brimstone
• Chancellor House
• Discovery• First Rand Foundation
• Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
• Goldman Sachs
• Harith General Partners
• Jackie Mphafudi
• Kumba Iron Ore
• Mitochondria
• National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS)
• National Lotteries Commission (NLC)
• Oppenheimer Memorial Trust (OMT)
• OSISA (Open Society Initiative South Africa)
• Phembani Group
• Power Lumens Africa
• Royal Bafokeng Holdings
• Safika
• Shell South Africa
• Simeka
• South Africa Breweries
• Standard Bank
• Vhonani Mufamadi
• YellowwoodsContributors
Crispen Chinguno is Senior Lecturer (Sociology) at Sol Plaatje University. He is currently
working on a book looking at worker struggles and shifting trade union organising
strategies, drawing on case studies from South Africa’s platinum belt.
Duma Gqubule is the founder and director of the Centre for Economic Development and
Transformation (CEDT). He has spent the past two decades as a financial journalist,
analyst, adviser and consultant on issues of economic development and transformation.
Edwin Ritchken is the coordinator of the Mining Phakisa, an industry-wide collaborative
initiative between government, the mining industry, labour and other stakeholders, to
galvanise growth and technology development in the mining sector. He specialises in
industrial policy, strategic sourcing and supplier development, and state-owned enterprise
governance and oversight.
Hameda Deedat is Acting Executive Director at Naledi, the research arm of the Congress of
South African Trade Unions (COSATU). She is also a senior researcher in gender, trade,
climate change, BRICS, the future of work and other labour research.
Hibist Kassa is an Executive Committee member of Development Alternatives with
Women in a New Era (DAWN). She is a PhD candidate, attached to the Centre for Social
Change and to the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg.
Joel Netshitenzhe is Executive Director and Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Governors of
the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA). He has been a member of
the National Executive Committee of the ANC since 1991.
Khwezi Mabasa is a researcher in the Faculty of Political Economy at MISTRA and a
parttime lecturer in the Department of Political Sciences at the University of Pretoria.
Lorenzo Fioramonti is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pretoria, where
he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, and is Deputy Project
Leader of the Future Africa initiative. He is also a member of Parliament in Italy, since
March 2018.
Nester Ndebele is the chair of Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA), a
South African organisation that aims to mobilise women in grassroots communities. She
has been engaged in mining and environmental activism globally for the past 10 years.
Ross Harvey leads the extractive industries research work of the Governance of Africa’s