South Africa is rich in natural resources, including one of the world’s most precious metals
When a gold reef (rocky ridge) was discovered in SA in the late 1800s, it opened up considerable economic opportunities with the outside world. In the 20th century SA was the world’s largest gold producer. But local gold production has declined in the past decade or so. While SA was still the largest gold producer in the world in 2006, it’s now in 10th place. Since 2007, China has been the world’s top producer.
The history of gold in SA goes back hundreds of years to the Kingdom of Mapungubwe. Even then, the local inhabitants of Southern Africa were trading with gold. But what’s gold, what’s it used for and why is there such a demand for this shiny precious metal?