In 2007 the mining sector contributed R5.2 billion to the Free State’s GDP and is therefore one of the major contributors to the economy of the Free State, with a contribution of 9,6%. Other large scale mining includes diamonds and coal, whereas small scale mining includes clay, salt, limestone, granite, gypsum, and sand/stone aggregates.
A gold reef of over 400 kms long, know as Lejweleputswa (formerly known as the Goldfields), stretches across Gauteng and the Free State. The largest gold mining complex is the Free State Consolidated Goldfields, with a mining area of 32 918 hectares. Some 82% of the regions mineral production value is derived from this activity, primarily in the goldfields region, which comprises the districts of Odendalsrus, Virginia and Welkom.
Large deposits of coal and the country’s largest deposits of bentonite are also found in the Kopies in the Fezile Dabi district municipality. This bituminous coal is converted to petro chemicals at Sasolburg. Diamonds from this region, extracted from kimberlite pipes and fissures are of high quality.
The mining sector includes the extraction or beneficiation of minerals occurring naturally, including solids, liquids and crude petroleum and gases. It also includes underground and surface mines, quarries and the operation of oil and gas wells and all supplemental activities for dressing and beneficiating for ores and other crude materials.