Limpopo small-scale miners want their operations legalised
Portfolio committees tells small scale miners that parliament cannot help negotiate agreements with mining conglomerates to join operations.
Police in Sekhukhune have arrested 24 illegal miners. Picture: Saps
Miners of Limpopo’s Sekhukhune District have told multiple Parliament Portfolio Committees that they resorted to illegal mining due to their unsuccessful applications for mining rights and licences for years.
Three committees, Mineral Resources and Energy, Police and Home Affairs conducted a joint oversight meeting in the greater Sekhukhune region to get an understanding of the extent of illegal mining in the area.
Growing illegal mining activities
The departments and the police submitted reports about growing illegal mining activities in the area looking for platinum, chrome as well as gold.
In an effort to thwart the illegal mining activities in the area, the committees were informed that the South African Police Service embarked on a joint operation to fight illegal mining activities in the area.
The committees also heard that when illegal miners were pushed out of Sekhukhune they often relocate to other parts of the province, in areas such as Mopani and Waterberg districts or they move to other provinces to continue with their illegal mining activities.
The people of Sekhukhune told the committees that they have resorted to illegal mining because their applications for mining rights and licenses were ignored by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.
Mining giants hold all the mining rights
They also claimed that all the rights in the area were held by three big conglomerates which are: Anglo Platinum, Samancor and Glencore.
Some of the illegal miners who are organised under the Sekhukhune Small Scale Miners Association said they were trying to make a living and were willing to enter into legal businesses through joint ventures or concessions with the mining houses.
Chairperson for the Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy, Sahlulele Luzipo, made it clear that the committees do not have any mandate of negotiating commercial transactions for communities.
“We understand your frustration, however, we cannot promise to resolve the issue of licensing, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy must help stop the monopoly of the three companies so that the community can also get an opportunity to participate in the mining business,” said Luzipo.
Following the incident that shook the country in July this year, where eight women were robbed and gang raped in Krugersdorp, allegedly by illegal miners, the committees took a decision to conduct oversight visits to all illegal mining hotspots around the country to get a better understanding of the extent of the problem of illegal mining.
The committees are expected to meet with mining companies, visit mines affected by illegal mining and also hold a public meeting with communities affected by illegal mining in the Polokwane area.