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Resource-Cursed South Africa Suffers More Mining Massacres

Patrick Bond

The undermining of the African economy and society by minerals tycoons never ceases. When times were good and the commodity super-cycle raised prices to all-time highs from 2002-11, the natural resources boom could have been channelled into benefits for the citizenry, perhaps through a sovereign wealth fund or nationalised mines.

But pro-corporate policy prevailed and instead of circulating the wealth, most major mining houses are headquartered overseas and export their profits. The continent suffered a net negative outflow of wealth (‘adjusted net saving’), according to even the pro-extraction-and-export World Bank. Depletion of so-called ‘natural capital’ (i.e. ripping minerals from the soil) left the continent’s producers poorer, especially during the 2000s boom that was misnamed ‘Africa Rising’.