Illegal mining a significant challenge in South Africa: Chamber of Mines

The Chamber of Mines says it is concerned about the very serious challenge of illegal mining in South Africa.

In Langlaagte, rescue operations have continued for trapped miners at an illegal mine at the George Harrison Park.

On Monday evening, emergencies services at the scene of the rescue operations confirmed that the body of one miner was found underground at the Langlaagte mine shaft.

Speaking to #NightTalk's Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo on 702, Chamber of Mines spokesperson Charmane Russell says that illegal mining is a significant issue in the local sector.

It been has estimated that there are about 14 000 people involved in illegal mining across the country, and that it involves about 6 billion rand in annual value that is then lost to the economy

Charmane Russell, Chamber of Mines spokesperson

Russell says that illegal mining occurs in all mining sectors in the country.

She says that illegal miners operate both in abandoned mines, and those which are still operating.

Miners are quite ingenious... and they are able to understand how to get in and find their way around

Charmane Russell, Chamber of Mines spokesperson

Despite mines having to be closed off when they are not operating, miners continue to find their way into these mines.

According to the Chamber of Mines, illegal miners risk their lives by opening cemented shafts in abandoned mines which have explosives.

Russell says that illegal miners do not necessarily see the benefits of what they are doing, as they do not control the illegal mining sector.

Illegal mining is very organised. It is usually led by organised crime syndicates. So the illegal miners themselves, who are actually toiling underground, are not seeing the great benefits. They are being exploited in many ways

Charmane Russell, Chamber of Mines spokesperson

Listen to the conversation below:

Watch an EWN report on rescue operations for illegal miners at Langlaagte:

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