KZN diamond rush: experts head to Ladysmith to inspect site
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DURBAN - Experts are expected to head to the KwaZulu-Natal town of Ladysmith, where crowds of people have gathered to search for diamonds.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said the Department of Minerals and Energy has promised to dispatch teams to the site.
“These teams include the department’s enforcement and compliance unit to conduct an inspection of the site,” Zikalala said.
Videos and images circulated on social media at the weekend with ’illegal miners’ claiming to have discovered diamonds. However, many think the stones could be quartz crystals.
Zikalala said a team from the Council for Mineral Technology and the Council for Geoscience would include a geologist and would focus on establishing what items exactly had been discovered at KwaHlathi.
He added that he was concerned by the reports of illegal mining activity at KwaHlathi, where the 'diamonds' were found.
“Images and videos have been circulating on social media where some involved in the illegal mining are seen celebrating in belief that they had struck it rich,” he said.
Zikalala said they were concerned about the images showing that some people from as far afield as neighbouring towns and provinces were flocking to KwaHlathi.
“We are worried that, if not brought under control, the situation could result in chaos and a possible stampede. We call for order and calm and urge all those involved to cease their operations and vacate the site so as to allow the DMRE (Department of Mineral Resources and Energy) to conduct a proper inspection of the site and of what has been discovered there,” he said.
Zikalala warned that the illegal mining activities could be in violation of the Covid-19 regulations.
“It is also very concerning that, in the wake of a looming third wave, we have so many people gathered in one spot, not maintaining social distancing and also not wearing masks. This could prove to be a super-spreader and might put at risk many people including those who are not part of the mining,” he said.
The KZN government would work closely with the SAPS, the DMRE, traditional communities, traditional leadership and the local and district municipalities to bring calm to the area and to ensure that the relevant information filtered through to community members.