Gold is still being produced from the Barberton area, the mineral terrain of which, together with the Pilgrim's Rest area is suitable for small scale mining. Recent exploration in the area unearthed carlin-type deposits that have the potential for gold extraction using low-cost, low-risk heap leach technology. Diamonds Exploration for diamonds on two properties in Mpumalanga has begun.
Mpumalanga accounts for 83% of South African coal production and exports account for 28% of production. The province is the third largest coal exporter in the world and Witbank is the biggest coal producer in Africa. Although South Africa has 19 official coal fields, 70% of recoverable reserves lie in the Highveld,Waterberg, and Witbank fields. Overall, the province contributes 19.6% to South Africa’s minerals sector, while the sector’s contribution to the provincial GDP is 22.5%.
Local coal consumption comprises electricity generation (40%) from the country’s coal-firing power stations, petro-chemical production (24%) and metallurgical, industrial and domestic applications.
Export tonnage is restricted by harbour and rail infrastructure with much of the exported coal channeled through the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, a high tonnage bulk loading facility in KwaZulu-Natal.
Exports of so-called “sized coal”, best handled in small quantities, will be well suited to the upgraded Maputo harbour and an estimated 20% saving in transport costs may also attract additional bulk coal exports.
Platinum is found in the north of the province around Lydenburg, in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality, on the southern edge of the mineral-rich Bushveld Igneous Complex. This area is home to Two Rivers platinum mine.
The Nelspruit-based Manganese Metal Company is the largest producer of pure electrolytic manganese metal in the world. The company claims 99.9% metallic purity in its products, which are created from high-grade manganese ore extracted via a hydrometallurgical process. The plant has an annual capacity of 27 000 tonnes.
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