The continent of Africa has an abundance of natural resources. What were the natural resources found in Africa? They include beautiful scenery, minerals, forests, and arable land. Many decades ago, South Africa economy predominantly relied on natural resources. Today, the service and manufacturing industries have significantly grown. Even so, a large section of this country's economy in the present day is still dependent on the natural resources in South Africa.
What are natural resources? These are naturally occurring substances or materials that can be used in different ways for economic benefits. The main resources in South Africa include different varieties of minerals, arable land, forests and breath-taking scenery. Similar to many other countries in the continent, these resources are not fully exploited. Some reports indicate that some of the natural resources are yet to be discovered. There is limitless potential for the use of these natural resources in South Africa.
Natural resources in South Africa
In addition to the fantastic South Africa geography that attracts tourists, what natural resources does South Africa have? Minerals in South Africa are among the naturally occurring resources that the world cannot do without. According to Buzz South Africa, the top South African minerals are:
What is the most important natural resource in Africa? Gold is an essential natural resource, especially in this country. In the list of minerals in South Africa, Gold comes first because the country is the source of at least 10% of the gold in the world. The gold exports from this country are worth billions of dollars.
There is a high availability of resources in South Africa, especially gold because the country has approximately 50% of the gold reserves in the world. Today, the country has more than 30 large-scale gold mines. Miners first discovered the existence of gold in the country in the late 1800s. The precious metal is predominantly mined in Free State and Rand.
READ ALSO: List of mines in South Africa
What is South Africa's most abundant natural resource? The country produces large amounts of sugar and timber that can be exported. However, many people know that diamonds are among the top minerals mined in South Africa. Today, most of the world's diamonds are from this country. Many of the established diamond mines in the country export millions of carats annually.
Diamond mining has created plenty of job opportunities for this country's citizens. Most of the diamonds are sold to jewellery shops in other countries such as the United States of America, Dubai and China. The precious item contributes significantly to the economy of the country.
Ferrochrome is an essential alloy of chromium and iron. It is widely used in the manufacturing industry. This nation is one of the top sources of this vital alloy. It is exported in its raw form to other countries. Locally, ferrochrome creates numerous jobs for local citizens and residents. About 4.8 million tons of this mineral are exported from the country each year. The country has already invested in highly advanced machinery and equipment for the production of ferrochrome.
Did you know that our country has up to 80% of the world's platinum reserves? Well, now you do. Russia and South Africa are the sources of 90% of the platinum in the world today. Most of this mineral is mined at Merensky Reef, Platreef, Rustenburg and Pretoria.
Rustenburg Platinum Mines and Bafokeng Rasimone Mines are two of the largest platinum mines in the country. Platinum is a valuable item, especially in the automotive industry. It is utilised in catalytic converters that convert harmful gases in cars to carbon dioxide and water vapour.
In recent years, there has been an increasing concern about global warming and how it can be mitigated. As a result, the demand for platinum has increased drastically because it is used to convert harmful gases into non-harmful substances. Today, the country earns a significant amount of its foreign exchange from exporting platinum.
Vanadium is one of the most abundant natural resources globally. The country produces about 23% of the world's vanadium and is the third-largest producer. China is the largest producer now, while Russia is on the second place.
Vanadium is needed in the manufacturing industry for the production of steel. It reinforces the strength of steel. When it is combined with steel, it is used to make items such as armour plates, axles, crankshafts and piston rods. Vanadium is also used to manufacture ceramics and colour televisions.
There are numerous natural resources in South Africa. Some of them are well utilised, while others are underutilised. Today, the country is known as one of the top sources of precious minerals such as gold, platinum and diamonds. These top five natural resources that the world cannot do without are a source of foreign exchange for the country. They contribute significantly to the economic development of the nation.