South Africa has historically been renowned for its mining sector, but a toxic combination of labor battles, union wars and declining commodity prices has left the country's resources sector reeling.
Instead, some analysts are now looking at Zimbabwe, with its improving economy and lessening political upheaval, as a nation that can capitalize on its neighbor's mining problems. On Wednesday, the country went to the polls to choose between 89-year old Robert Mugabe who has ruled the nation for 33 years and the opposition led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe is rich in minerals but has so far suffered from economic mismanagement and corruption. It has the world's second-largest platinum reserves, as well as ample deposits of gold, nickel,diamonds and coal. While gold's price has fallen in recent times, the tightening supply of platinum has helped boost prices of that metal.
Zimbabwe's platinum mines are labor-intensive, and may not offer strong returns for investors, but analysts laud the country's disciplined workforce.
"Mining operations are in good shape in terms of the quality of the operation and the productivity they are getting out of people. If you look at it from that perspective, it's really shining," Kobus Nell, a mining analyst for Stanlib in South Africa, told CNBC.
"It's totally different from the militant workforce in South Africa," Vimbai Chakanetsa, the founder and chief executive officer of Goldsearch Holdings, a mining consultancy in Zimbabwe said via phone from the Zimbabwean capital Harare. "Here, I'm telling you, a worker can work for a month without being fully paid, but they are very understanding and they believe in talking rather than engaging in a militant manner."
While the mining sector in Zimbabwe is currently expected to grow by 17 percent in 2013, the broader economy is only slowly recovering from its economic depression a few years ago when inflation was at 231 million percent.