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Social sciences:


Grade 8

Natural resources

Module 10

Commerce and industry, mining

Commerce and Industry

The economy and the environment are inextricably linked. A healthy environment is not only ecologically important, but is also essential to the economic welfare of the nation. On the other hand, a healthy economy cannot be based on a damaged environment and a damaged natural resource base.

Economic development without environmental responsibility is neither acceptable nor practical. It is not a matter of chance that those companies which are leaders in their fields accept that environmental issues are inextricably linked to politics, the economy and the nation’s social fabric, and accept caring for the environment as a social responsibility. They have already discovered that environmental management is good for business; that eco-responsibility today will pay off in the form of improved dividends tomorrow. This is not just a matter of improving public relations – more resource-efficient technologies, energy efficiency, waste reduction and pollution prevention can and do increase profits substantially.

It is generally accepted than an expanding economy is needed to generate the wealth required to improve the quality of life for all South Africans, though funding for the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and other urgently required development initiatives and social upliftment programmes. But such economic development should follow a different pattern from that practised previously in both South Africa and the industrialised nations of the West, which often blighted the environment and exacted a huge social toll. The economy needs to be sustainable, operating within the finite limits of the natural resource base, and the emphasis should be not only on growth in the amount of goods and services, but equally on the growth of personal and human resources.

Commerce and industry in South Africa

Activity 1:

To identify the most important industries in the rsa in each of the given towns or cities, and put it in writing

[lo 1.2]

Consult the key and write down the different industries found in each city or town:

  • Cape Town:
  • Saldanha:

Mossel Bay:

  • Port Elizabeth:
  • East London:
  • Durban:

Richards Bay:

  • Kimberley:
  • Bloemfontein:
  • Sasolburg:
  • Vereeniging:
  • Witbank:


  • Pretoria:


South Africa is extremely rich in minerals. It has the largest known deposits of gold, chromium, manganese, vanadium, andalusite and the platinum-group metals, as well as huge reserves of other valuable metals and minerals like coal, nickel, silver, antimony, asbestos, diamonds, copper, iron, zinc, lead, phosphate, uranium, titanium and zircon.

The country’s previous economic growth was largely sustained by the exploitation of these non-renewable resources, with mining contributing some 29 per cent of Gross Domestic Product in 1961.

But mining is by nature a non-sustainable activity and cannot support development in the long term.

Mining activities, on some one per cent of South Africa’s land surface, have caused huge environmental damage and pollution in many parts of the country.

This includes the discharge of polluted water back into the environment, air pollution (partly form spontaneously burning coal discard dumps, although the mining industry has done much to address the issue in recent years), waste generation, the release of ozone-depleting CFCs from huge refrigeration plants used to cool deep mines, unsightly and space-wasting dumps, and physical devastation through unrehabilitated open-cast mines.

Moreover, scarce resources, especially water and soil, has in the past been squandered by mining activities, while mining also caused serious environment related health problems amongst the workers. Mineral ore enrichment also caused considerable damage to the environment.

Mining in South Africa

Activity 2:

To identify different mining activities on a map and write it down

[lo 1.2]

  • Consult the map and write down the different mining activities found in every city or town.


Although environmental education has a long history, until fairly recently formal curricula in the South African education system largely ignored environmental principals and the philosophy of sustainable living. Also, there have been powerful forces effectively nullifying much of the positive benefit of environmental education: advertising and mass entertainment, which – both in this country and internationally – have promoted excessive consumption, ignored the need to conserve scarce resources, and glorified wasteful living practices.

The result is that many people in South African society have become accustomed to, or take as a desirable role model, a clearly unsustainable lifestyle based on rampant consumerism and characterised by the use of disposable goods and excessive packaging.

- Many people do not understand the links between individual lifestyles, the alleviation of poverty, the use of resources, environmental degradation and, ultimately, the survival of humanity.

- They have not been taught how changing their behaviour can help others and have a positive influence on the natural environment.

- They have to be shown why an acceptable quality of life for all is dependent on the wise, sustainable use of the country’s natural resources.


Cities generate and accumulate wealth, and are the main centres for education, new job opportunities, greater economic opportunities, health care and cultural opportunities. But they are also immense and often wasteful consumers of natural resources, requiring enormous quantities of water, energy, foodstuffs and raw materials, much of which is not used sustainably.

Without proper planning, they sprawl over and sterilise large tracts of land.

Cities generate massive amounts of pollution which contaminate water, soil and air far beyond their boundaries, while also endangering and reducing the quality of life of their own inhabitants.

The lake of effective policies for sustainable development of rural economies forces many young and economically active people to abandon these rural areas, damaging the social fabric.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Geography grade 8. OpenStax CNX. Sep 11, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11036/1.1
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