South African Coal Mining Industry: Socio-Economic Attributes


  • Ken Mathu Vaal University of Technology
  • Richard Chinomona Vaal University of Technology


Coal has been an important commodity in South Africa for many years and it is one of the oldest mining enterprises in the country. Its role since 1923 as a primary source of energy has steered the economy and society to prosperity. The energy generated especially electricity and synthetic fuels impacts on all sectors of the economy and the society. The country has enough coal for domestic consumption and for export to last the country for longer than it has existed. There are 73 collieries distributed through the coal mining areas with majority of them (61) situated in the Mpumalanga coalfields. The only problem with coal mining is raising carbon footprint and carbon emissions that have become a global issue for nearly the last two decades. The five leading coal mining companies (Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton, Exxaro, Xstrata and Sasol) produce over 80% of the South African coal. The rest is produced by junior miners that comprise the newly established Black Economic Empowerment companies. The domestic coal consumption is 75 percent of the total coal produced in the country while 25 percent is exported. The interactions of the role players in the coal mining industry commencing with the government regulations, supply chain members, employees and the society who are the beneficiaries of the process underpins the socio-economic attributes of the industry.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n14p347


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How to Cite

South African Coal Mining Industry: Socio-Economic Attributes. (2013). Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 4(14), 347.