Tracking the gold rate in South Africa
Gold mining in South Africa can be divided into four phases:
The first stage covers the period from first discovery in the 1880s to the Union of South Africa in 1910. The period is marked by rapid growth in gold mining activities, both in the area around Barberton as well as the Witwatersrand, and interrupted only by the Anglo Boer War from 1899-1902.
The second phase, from 1911 to 1950, is characterised by slowing growth rate, largely due to the outbreak of the First World War, the Rand Rebellion in 1922, the effects of the Great Depression in the late 1920s, and finally the Second World War. Gold production in this phase peaked at approximately 450 tonnes in 1941.
During the third phase, South Africa’s gold production grew remarkably from 400 tonnes in 1951 to 950 tonnes in 1965, through new goldfields in Carletonville, Klerksdorp, the Free State and Evander areas becoming operational.
Apart from the period 1966 – 1970, the fourth phase is characterised by a general decline in mining production, from 1 000 tonnes of gold mines in 1970, to 100 tonnes in 2021.