15/11/2010 Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu during a media breakfast briefing held at Pretoria Gauteng. (169) Photo: Leon Nicholas

South Africa's most valuable minerals are currently estimated to be worth around R29.6 trillion, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Thursday.

Replying in writing to a parliamentary question, Shabangu said the estimate was based on the country's 15 major minerals.

Platinum remains at the top of the list, with the known mineral reserves estimated to be worth nearly R13.3 trillion. The value of coal reserves stands at R6.6 trillion, with palladium worth almost R3.3 trillion, and gold at R2.8 trillion.

The unmined wealth of titanium is valued at R1.6 trillion.

An estimation of other mineral reserves is: copper valued at R680.9 billion; nickel valued at R478.5 bn; zircon valued at R302.8 bn; zinc valued at R209.8 bn; vermiculite valued at R98.3 bn; vanadium pentoxide valued at R75.6 bn; uranium valued at R54.6 bn; manganese valued at R6.3 bn; lead valued at R4.7 bn; and antimony valued at R2.2 bn.

South Africa has the world's fifth-largest mining sector.

Earlier estimates by US financial institution Citibank calculated South Africa's total mineral wealth to be around US2.5

trillion, or nearly R22.3 trillion. - Sapa