The history of the gold mining industry and that of South Africa are closely linked and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Despite declining production figures in the last decade, the gold mining industry remains a key contributor to economic development in the country. The legitimacy of the industry has been based almost entirely on the financial contribution to the fiscus and job creation. More recently, this legitimacy has been questioned by perceptions of shortcomings in the contribution to sustainable development. The purpose of the research was to gain an enhanced understanding into how the gold mining industry is respond to the challenges of sustainability in South Africa. Through a combination of qualitative interviews and secondary data review, the research had specific aims to: Establish the strategic stances of South African gold mining companies on sustainability Identify key drivers and impediments to implementing sustainability strategies into the day-to-day decision making; establish the maturity levels of the practices adopted by the companies; and establish an approach that can be used to assist South Africa’s gold mining companies embed sustainability in their strategies. By and large, the South African gold mining industry recognises its responsibilities towards society and the ecosystem. However, the focus seems to be more short-term and based on liability, cost and risk reduction. Additionally, there seems to be a gap between intent and actual performance. The Mining Charter and global sustainability frameworks are key drivers in the companies’ response to sustainability challenges.Leadership within the industry, the credibility and trust deficits, and the fragmented approach to sustainable development were identified as major impediments.