Full chronicle of mining in SA

For more than a century mining has been the lifeblood of the South African economy.

For more than a century mining has been the lifeblood of the South African economy.

Today South Africa holds the world's largest reserves of gold, platinum group metals and manganese ore.

This covers 80 percent of the world's manganese, 88 percent of platinum group metal, 45percent of gold and 73 percent of global chromium reserves.

Until early this year South Africa was the world's biggest producer of gold (now China is) and platinum, coal and diamonds.

These are impressive stats, which translate into mining being one of South Africa's most important economic sectors.

In 2005 the industry employed 450 000 miners. But in recent years it has had its fair share of problems - from the rising costs of doing business to reduced production, which has cost thousands of jobs.

Eskom's recent load-shedding kneejerk reaction to the electricity shortage has exacerbated the problems of an industry battling to remain profitable.

Deep South Africa is a celebration of the South African mining industry. While some people might dismiss it as a public relations project, the list of its contributors is impressive.

Thirteen contributors - most of them freelance writers, journalists and environmental experts - lent their expertise to the book project.

Their vast combined experience reveals the industry as never before. It chronicles the history of mining since 1880, which has affected the development of the country as a whole.

Deep South Africa will interest people in the industry, business and the general public, who have always wondered what happens above and underground.

Apart from the history the book profiles major role players past and present. It also pays tribute to those who have made meaningful contributions to mining.

Projections for future growth and development, insight into the role of South African mining in a global context and information on sustainable mining also form part of the book.

It also includes company profiles, listings and interesting facts and figures.