Why coal mining matters

Coal remains one of South Africa's most abundant and valuable resources. Coal has been instrumental in South Africa's development, not only for the mining sector, but also for the broader industrialisation of the country. The coal mining industry benefits the South African economy and its people in many ways:

  • Over 81% of South Africa’s electricity requirements and over 30% of liquid fuel demand (coal-to-liquids technology) are derived from coal
  • South Africa ranks amongst the world’s top 10 global coal producers, producing around 250 million tonnes annually since 2010. In 2015, coal production represented 3.7% of global output
  • The coal mining industry employed nearly 87,000 people in 2018
  • The industry currently pays its employees some R24.7 billion in salaries and wages per annum
  • Employment is provided for workers from rural communities, which in turn results in the transfer of funds back to these areas
  • It is estimated that for every direct job created in the industry, a further two to three jobs are created down and up-stream, in such sectors as electricity, manufacturing, construction and finance
  • The industry spent R56 billion procuring goods and services in 2018
  • The industry paid some R1.6 billion in royalties in 2018
  • In 2018 the industry produced 252.5 million tonnes of coal and contributed R139.4 billion in sales
  • The industry is a major contributor to transformation through the Mining Charter and to community development through SLPs
  • Coal mining has a role to play in the development of human resources (training) and infrastructure, such as schools, colleges, clinics, roads and housing
  • Coal export earnings have a positive impact on the balance of payments, foreign reserves, monetary policy and on the level of business activity in the country
  • Nearly R14 billion of dividends were paid to shareholders in 2018
  • Coal mining attracts foreign capital to the country, via the JSE or direct investment