This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 7/14/2019


Total Market Size189,000190,000195,000195,000
Total Local Production63,00064,00066,00068,000
Total Exports20,00022,00022,00030,000
Total Imports125,000130,000135,000135,000
Imports from the U.S.38,00040,00041,00040,000
Exchange Rate: 1 USD    
Unit:  $ thousands
Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)
Data Sources:  Above figures are unofficial estimates obtained from industry sources.
Note:      Figures include exploration and extraction equipment, but exclude
                beneficiation and bulk transportation equipment.

The U.S. construction equipment sector exports to South Africa from 2011 to 2015 were over 600% higher than the next largest African market, Egypt (this sector includes construction, earthmoving and mining equipment). Overall, regional sector Africa growth since 2013 was relatively flat; regional export performance, however, mirrored overall global developments and have declined sharply since 2015.
The challenges in the mining industry, such as high input costs, environmental, health and safety regulations, a fluctuating exchange rate, and logistic inefficiencies continued to be aggravated by low commodity prices. In 2018/19 this resulted in precipitously declining employment, growth and business confidence in the mining sector. However, some mining houses have been able to improve credit ratings. The general malaise in the mining sector has been aggravated by Government vacillation in the face of populist rhetoric around mine nationalization, and investors remain cautious; half of all mining operations are said to be loss-making. The downturn in the exports of manganese, iron ore and the platinum sector do not bode well for new capital expenditure projects in this niche. Nonetheless, South Africa is one of the premier ores and mineral sources in the world, and a net exporter of mining technologies.  It is a major supplier of Platinum Group Metals (PGM), coal, iron, manganese, chrome and nickel.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects                                                                                              

The South African mining industry is well-developed and sophisticated. Many local equipment and service providers as well as organized events exist to facilitate the distribution of goods or services into the African continent. South Africa remains an important stepping stone to develop that area. U.S. goods and services in the following fields are well represented in South Africa:
  • Software
  • Furnaces
  • Drill Rigs
  • Automated Controls
  • Mining Processing
  • GIS Mapping
  • Communications Systems
  • Materials Extraction and Handling Technology


Mining and related projects have traditionally been responsible for significant infrastructure development. For example, 2,200 miles of railway line, three new ports and a large amount of bulk handling infrastructure at other ports remain in planning stages of both the South African Government and mining consortia. Increasing the efficiency of material handling systems is high on the agenda of exporters of ores and minerals.

Recent mining infrastructure plans include:
  • Saldanha Bay iron and steel ore bulk export hub.
  • Coega Port infrastructure development focused on the creation of a dedicated rail line for the export of manganese from the Northern Cape and the creation of a chorine plant.
  • Further enhanced bulk material handling systems for coal at the port of Richards Bay.
  • Shale gas deposit exploration work in the Karoo desert have been put on hold due to regulatory processes, the down-turn in energy prices and a reassessment of the size of deposits. 

Web Resources                                                                                                  

Mining Indaba 2020
Africa Mining Investment Conference and Exhibition
Date:                       February 3-6, 2020
Venue:                    CTICC, Cape Town

Electra Mining Africa 2020
Mining, Industrial & Construction, Transport Exhibition and Conference
Date:                       7 – 11, September 2020
Venue:                    MTN Expo Centre,
Nasrec, Johannesburg

Mining Weekly Publication

Minerals Council South Africa

Council for Geoscience


For more information, contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Johannesburg, South Africa, via e-mail at:; Phone: +27 11 290 3208; Fax: +27 11 884 0253, or visit our Website:
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