Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe. FILE PHOTO: ANA

JOHANNESBURG - Mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday that he intends to have discussions with the police minister in a bid to curb illegal mining as the department vies to enforce regulations for artisinal mining. 

Tabling the Department of Mineral Resource's R1.9 billion Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday, Mantashe said that illegal mining causes leakage and costs both the industry and the economy greatly, thereby robbing government and the people of South Africa of the benefits that should accrue from mining. 

"Illegal mining is a serious challenge and a danger to society. It places the health and safety of communities at risks, particularly where public infrastructure is threatened by its activities. 

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

"We will meet with the industry to solicit its views on this matter. As we explore ways to regulate artisanal mining as means to enable ordinary South Africans to participate in mining, we intend having discussions with the minister of police on strengthening approaches to dealing with the scourge of illegal mining."

Mantashe made an example that collaboration with law enforcement agencies in Sekhukhune had led to successful arrests of illegal miners, adding that there was progress made through work with provincial and local government, as well as law enforcement agencies.  

African News Agency/ANA