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Fifteen people have been arrested in connection with illegal mining in Virginia, near Welkom in the Free State, police said.
Police conducted an operation on Thursday targeting “zama-zamas”, as illegal miners are called in the industry.
They found 15 men processing gold dust taken from V2 mine near the Tikwe River, Warrant Officer Malebo Khosana said.
Khosana said some of them escaped arrest.
“Some of them swam through the icy waters of the river to evade arrest.”
Those who were arrested would appear in the Virginia Magistrate's Court on Monday. - Sapa