Johannesburg - More needs to be done to prevent illegal miners from reopening disused mines, Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu said on Friday.
“As more holes and open shafts are discovered, they are sealed, but we need better, more sustainable methods which will close these openings permanently,” she said in a statement.
“Illegal mining has economic implications and long-term rehabilitation implications, and this is why we must continue to fight it from all angles.”
Shabangu appealed to members of the Gauteng illegal mining stakeholders' forum to strengthen efforts to deal with illegal mining in the province, especially on the East and West Rand, her department said in a statement.
This followed the rescue operation to remove illegal miners from the abandoned Gold One mine shaft in Benoni, on the East Rand.
The miners were found on Sunday when Ekurhuleni metro police on patrol heard screaming from the abandoned mine.
A rival group had thrown boulders down the open mine shaft, trapping them underground, according to paramedics at the time.
The mineral resources department, through the council of geoscience, sealed 130 holes and shafts, and 51 were sealed by mines operating in the area.
The forum was established by the minister in 2012, to address problems faced by the mining industry with illegal mining.
It is made up of the departments of mineral resources and home affairs, the SA Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, mining companies, local government, organised labour and liquidators. - Sapa