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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

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
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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