South Africa is well known throughout the world for its Gold, Diamonds, Coal and Platinum industries, but besides for these minerals, the country mines a number of other minerals. What is not as commonly known, is that the country also has a wide range of additional natural resources that are not as well known such as timber, sugar and other agricultural items.

South African Sugar Industry

Photo: Chris Kirchhoff

Driving through the area of Mpumalanga (formerly the Eastern Transvaal) and also Kwazulu-Natal’s midlands area, one will see huge areas of timber plantations. These plantations are the foundations of a very large and lucrative industry. The timber industry of South Africa is very productive and supplies almost all the countries timber requirements as well as exporting a sizeable percentage of wood grown in these plantations.

Also not generally known is South Africa’s sugar Industry situated mainly in KwaZulu Natal and to a lesser degree in the Eastern Cape and the Mpumalange area. The Sugar Industry of South Africa generates an income of about 6 billion rand annually and provides work opportunities for a very large amount of people living in these areas.

South African Agriculture

Photo: Graeme Williams

Not to be forgotten of course is the Wine Industry of South Africa. Since the end of Apartheid the export of wines from South Africa has continued to grow with each passing year and today South Africa is one of the top 10 wine producers in the world.

South African agriculture encompasses a wide range of products such as fresh fruit (grapes, citrus, nectarines and others), as well as maize, tobacco wool and cotton. Most of these items are also exported.