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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The impact of mine downscaling on the Free State Goldfields
Author:Marais, LochnerISNI
Periodical:Urban Forum (ISSN 1874-6330)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:gold mining
economic recession
social conditions
Abstract:This paper examines the consequences of mine downscaling in the Free State Goldfields (FSG), one of the areas in South Africa that are most affected by it. Existing literature points at seven main consequences of mine closure or downscaling: 1. upheaval, instability, and conflict in mining settlements; 2. lay-off of particular worker groups, depending on their age, skill and education; 3. disappearance of previously subsidized basic services; 4. environmental problems; 5. loss of infrastructure; 6. decline in community self-help; and 7. withdrawal of capital by mining companies. Many of the experiences in the FSG mirror the international experience. In the early 1980s, the FSG accounted for 21% of the Free World's total gold production. The subsequent decline was caused by low gold prices, higher wages, shorter working hours, the role of international capital, and advances in technology. Poverty rates in the province increased from 39.4% to 51.7%. Local attempts to address mine downscaling have failed, because the magnitude was simply too vast. The author argues in favour of local partnerships between mining companies and local governments in addition to a national strategy for badly hit areas such as the FSG. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]