The emergence of the gold mining sector in South Africa led to the rapid development and industrialisation of the country and ultimately, contributed to South Africa being by far the most industrialised country in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa is the world's largest producer of gold. It is ranked first in the world in terms of gold reserves and third in the world in terms of production, after China and Australia.
A gold reef of over 400 km long, known as Lejweleputswa (formerly known as the Goldfieds), stretches across Gauteng and Free State. Free State Consolidated Goldfieds is the largest gold-mining complex with a mining area of 330 square kilometres.
Gauteng province dominates in gold mining, accounting for roughly 49.9% of South African production and Free State province ranks third at 21.3%. Only about 5% of the country's gold production is beneficiated locally to coins and jewellery.
The mining industry is the major employer in the Free State. Petrochemicals at Sasolburg are produced out of bituminous coal which is also mined in the province. High quality diamonds are extracted from the kimberlite pipes and the Koppies district has the country's largest deposit of bentonite.