South African mining sector employment forecast to 2025

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
TITLE AUTHOR(S): N.Baartjies
DEPARTMENT: Impact Centre (IC), Impact Centre (PRESS), Impact Centre (CC)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 7257

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In 1994 South Africa's mining sector employed 610 000 workers. Within a short six years, by 2000, this had dropped to 418 000. The rapid decrease of 192 000 or just over 30% of the 1994 figure was considered a catastrophe against the backdrop of South Africa's employment landscape. The period 2000-2001 is viewed by researchers as the commencement of the commodities boom in South Africa and six years after this commencement (by 2006) the employment levels had rebounded to 456 000 (+9%) and reaching close to 520 000 by 2008 and 491 000 in 2009. South Africa's mining sector workforce profile has been changing and will continue to change across the study timeframe (up to 2025) and beyond. The increase in contract labour on mines is one such market adjustment and in the last 10 years there has been the emergence of mines being owned by investment and financial institutions and being operated by contractors utilising either capital intensive methods or contract labourers. The utilization of capital is also increasingly common on mines as technological interventions are used to increase productivity, replace employees working in safe areas or both. There are numerous other employment drivers in the sector including exchange rate, capital driven productivity (and safety) changes, as well as base prices for commodities. These will combine to influence employment to 2025 and beyond.