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Indifferent to price suppression, South Africa remains a rich country insisting on being poor

Section: Daily Dispatches

Bell Tolls for Gold Mine That Once Powered South African Economy

By Felix Njini
Bloomberg News
Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The final demise of South Africa's gold industry came a step nearer on Wednesday with the announcement that Sibanye Gold Ltd. won't extend the life of Driefontein, once the biggest mine on the continent.

Last year the mine, more than 2 miles (3,200 meters) deep, produced about 300,000 ounces of gold, just a fifth of its peak output two decades ago. Now Sibanye will wind down Driefontein's operations within 10 years, with plans to cut thousands of jobs as it shuts unprofitable shafts.

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South Africa's gold industry employs just over 100,000 people, less than a fifth of the number that used to drive the apartheid economy. With most of the nation's gold operations unprofitable, more job cuts are inevitable. Moreover, the geological challenges faced by the world's deepest mines saw fatalities at Sibanye's gold operations soar last year. ...

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