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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

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.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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
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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