160214 11 illegal miners were rescued at Gold 1 abandoned mine hole in Benoni Ekurhuleni,atleast 10 others refused to come of the hole.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi 5

Johannesburg - The bodies of 10 illegal miners have been found in the past two days near an abandoned gold mine shaft in Roodepoort, west of South Africa’s commercial capital, Johannesburg.

Five corpses were found there today, the South African Press Association reported.

That follows the discovery of the bodies of four males and a female late yesterday.

The corpses may have been there for a week, Robert Mulaudzi, a spokesman for the Emergency Management Services, said by phone.

Another body was found in the area on February 22.

Illegal mining is common in South Africa, the world’s sixth-largest producer of gold.

The practice costs the country 6 billion rand a year, Mining Minister Susan Shabangu said in July, citing a 2010 study.

Miners open sealed shafts to gain access to near-exhausted gold mines in the hope of finding bullion-bearing ore, which has been mined in Johannesburg since 1886.

As many as 14,000 people may be mining illegally in South Africa, Shabangu said on February 21.

About 25 trapped illegal miners were rescued from a shaft in Benoni, east of Johannesburg, this month. - Bloomberg News