Located on the edge of South Africa (the largest gold producer on the continent), Swaziland is one of Africa’s many important gold countries. Gold mining in the country is authorized by the King, who has a minerals advisory committee. This means that for anyone interested in investing in the country’s gold mining you must seek an audience with the king and his minerals committee. Being a monarch, gold mining is still underdeveloped in the country with just a handful of operations. These offers excellent opportunities for fresh investments in the sector as the country’s natural resource are still intact.
Considering the little investments in the sector, gold mining plays a fairly minimal role in the country’s economy contributing about 2% to the country’s GDP. If mining production were increase most predict that number would be much higher.
History of Gold in Swaziland
The history of gold mining in the country is ancient. Gold use can be traced back to the early years of the Swazi kingdom. In the early years, small-scale artisanal miners mined alluvial gold along the rivers for the king. This was important as gold was used to decorate the king’s palace as well as for trade in the kingdom.
The first recorded gold discovery was in 1872 by the Boers although the first major attempt at gold mining came in 1880. The first major mine that produced gold was the Forbes Main Reed in 1883. The other early gold mining was done in the Piggs Peak area. From that time to about 1920 gold production was sporadic although a steady extraction was done in several places across the country’s territory.
Most recent gold production was the Lomat extension, She and the Waterfall Mines till 1967 and the Red Reefs Mine until 1977, although new explorations have already been done in many places across the country.
It is estimated that more than half the gold produced in the country was between 1908 and 1919 with a total of about 250,000 oz of gold having been produced by 1973. This should be good news for gold investors as most of the gold prospects in the country were not exploited because the technology then didn’t allow for low-grade gold mining and because some were not properly explored. This leaves the country with a huge potential to increase its gold production.
Also Read: An Overview of the Open Pit Mining Process
Developing Swaziland’s Gold Mines
Today there is renewed effort by the king in develop and grow the country’s mining sector in order to enhance economy of the country. This offers great opportunity for you to invest in the country’s gold sector.
All the gold in Swaziland belongs to the king who manages them for his subjects. For you to get the mining rights, you have to go through the mining department which has responsibility for both the mining and the entire mineral industry in the country. Gold mining is governed by the mines and minerals act of 2011.
In additions to the provisions of the act, you also need to familiarize yourself with the mines and quarries safety regulations and the mines and machinery regulations. This are important legal frameworks the guides the mining industry in Swaziland and should be of great help if you are interested in investing in the country’s gold sector.
The gold mining sector has a bright future with the planned reopening of the Pigg’s Peak gold mine. The Swazi Mining Ventures (SMV) is still working on modalities to re-open the old workings of the mine and make it safe for the miners. There are also plans for the construction of a gold processing plant near the mine. This is great news for the country as this will further enhance the country’s reputation as a gold producer in Africa.
Also Read: Gold Production Declining in South Africa