The fickle nature of commodities is shown starkly in the Northern Cape town of Kathu, whose fortunes rise and fall with the iron ore price.
Commodities are in the doldrums and local conditions may be too toxic to attract interest.
Chinese government subsidies will keep alive mines that should have been shut down.
The Anglo American unit which had enjoyed sky-high iron ore prices in the past now faces a decline in profits as the metal price drops.
Amcu, the dominant union in the platinum sector, looks likely to win recognition at Kumba Iron Ore, which announced an increased profit on Tuesday.
The Constitutional Court has finally settled a dispute that has tainted all parties.
Stocks have booked a 1.6% gain, led by Kumba Iron Ore's upbeat guidance for its full-year results.
After a lengthy legal battle, Kumba and ArcelorMittal have finally signed an agreement that will ensure the long-term sustainable supply of iron ore.
A member of the Anglo American group, Kumba Iron Ore, says it needs a new mining permit to access about a third of reserves at its Sishen mine.
Production from Kumba's new Kolomela mine has kept profits up in the first half of 2013 after a strike affected output at its Sishen mine last year.
Workers have turned to the union they scorned at the time of the unprotected strike - the National Union Mineworkers.
The government may be looking to implement export taxes on iron ore and steel products, it announced in a post Cabinet briefing.
Striking workers at Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine have disrupted training of workers, following a postponed bail hearing.
The Kathu Medi-Clinic has confirmed that seven protesters have been admitted with minor injuries after the police's early morning raid at Sishen mine.
About 120 striking workers at Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine, in the Northern Cape, have been dismissed after failing to attend disciplinary hearings.
The strike at Kumba Iron Ore's mine is coming to a head as workers face the real threat of losing their jobs and eviction from the mine's premises.
Miners at Kumba Iron Ore's Sishen mine have gone on a wildcat strike - a fresh sign of escalating labour unrest in Africa's largest economy.
Companies have defended their money management strategies after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan lashed out over lack of investnment.
The ANC policy document (sims) has proposed a 50% tax on super-profits and stands to enable the state to intervene in price setting.