Since the first commercial mine in South Africa was established in the middle of the 19th century, mining has been a driving force in the country’s economic development and cultural history. The country continues to be famous for its abundance of natural resources which account for a significant proportion of world reserves and production. However, in the 21st century, the contribution by mining to economic growth and employment has waned dramatically. The question of how to restore mining’s luster has, in recent national dialogue, centered on whether mines should be state owned, or their profitability regulated through wind fall taxes.

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