illegal mining
illegal mining

South Africa is to strengthen measures to deal with illegal mining, Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe said on Thursday.

Illegal mining poses many dangers to society, in terms of health and safety, infrastructure damage as well as costs to the industry and economy, Mantashe told the National Council of Provinces, the upper house of Parliament, during a debate on his budget.

Illegal mining robs the government and the people of South Africans of the benefits from taxes and royalties, the minister said.

Coupled with the challenge of illegal mining is the matter of synthetics that is threatening the diamond sector, he said.

“We are engaging the diamond industry on this matter,” he added.

Four alleged illegal miners died in April when a mining machine collapsed in Sekhukhune that is notorious for illegal mining. The accident prompted a crackdown on illegal mining there.

In Northern Cape Province, the Department of Mineral Resources has been engaging with artisanal miners to legalize their operations, Mantashe said.

Two months ago, they received their mining permits that will allow them to sell their diamonds in the open market, free from unscrupulous diamond buyers, Mantashe said.

According to the South African Chamber of Mines, over 6 billion rand (about 472 million U.S. dollars) is lost through illegal mining annually.

About 70 percent of illegal miners are illegal immigrants, according to the chamber.

The chamber said about 14,000 people, many of them from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, are involved in illegal mining in South Africa. Enditem

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