Illegal Mining in South Africa

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According to the Department of Mineral Resources, South Africa is fast losing control of illegal mining in shut-down shafts.
Illegal mining has a serious impact on South Africa and the mining industry:

• Cost to taxpayers
• Health and safety risks. Damage to infrastructure poses a serious risk, while legal miners’ safety is threatened by illegal gangs that are usually armed, sometimes with AK47s, according to reports. Also of concern is that some legal miners sell or give their clock cards to illegal miners to gain access to mines, and there are even instances where legal miners provide food, equipment and mine property to illegal miners. Illegal mining can cause underground fires and fall of ground incidents, resulting in loss of life and threatening mine employees, mining communities and the illegal miners themselves.
• Prostitution. According to reports, women go underground to work as prostitutes for illegal miners. This poses obvious health and safety threats.
• Environmental impact. Irresponsible mining practices cause irreparable harm to the environment and ecology.
• Loss of life due to faction fighting between gangs, fighting amongst illegal miners and fatal accidents such as falls of ground.
• Human trafficking is also a reality.
• Proceeds from illegal mining are used to finance other crimes.

Challenges – Several challenges have been identified, including the following: • Attacks on the SAPS, the Department of Mineral Resources and mine officials, including security personnel
• The continuous reopening of sealed holes by illegal miners
• Increase in crime (murder and theft, including theft of water, copper cables, steel, diesel and tyres)
• Most of the criminals involved are illegal immigrants from Mozambique, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

For more information:

Illegal mining in South Africa: The impact and threat





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