Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
LEDWABA, P.F.. Tiger's eye in the Northern Cape Province - potential for employment creation and poverty alleviation. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.11, pp. 881-885. ISSN 2411-9717.
SYNOPSIS South Africa's Northern Cape Province houses a variety of gemstone minerals. Diamonds remain the primary gemstone in the province, but there are also tiger's eye, sugilite, rose quartz, jasper, amethyst, amazonite, tourmaline, and topaz deposits. This paper gives an overview of the tiger's eye (TE) mining sector in the Northern Cape, with the objective of assessing the potential of TE to contribute to job creation and poverty alleviation in the province. Mining of TE started in 1803, but gained momentum during the 1960s. Mining is conducted on a small-scale basis, and in most cases without any legal framework. The majority of the residents are not benefiting from TE. It has been reported that an estimated R700 000 to R800 000 worth of TE is leaving the country every week through illegal trading. The potential for TE mining to contribute to socioeconomic development is hindered by illegal operations, lack of technical skills and knowledge, exploitation by dealers, lack of market information, community rivalries, and absence of value addition. A multi-stakeholder approach is needed to formalize the sector and reap the benefits. Mintek is spearheading a TE project in the Prieska area of the Northern Cape, which aims to establish a gemmological centre where TE can be beneficiated into saleable and high-value products..
Keywords : Northern Cape; small-scale mining; tiger's eye; socio-economic development; multi-stakeholder approach.