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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Eight suspected illegal miners die after being trapped underground

Police said one South African, three Mozambicans and four Zimbabweans were allegedly busy with illegal mining activities when they got trapped.

At least eight suspected illegal miners have died at a chrome mine in Limpopo.

It is understood the miners who were digging for chrome at ga-Maroga village died when they were allegedly trapped underground on Friday.

The Police in Driekop outside Burgersfort have opened an inquest docket concerning the deaths of the miners who are also suspected to be foreign nationals.

Foreign nationals

Police spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said adverse weather conditions played a role in the miners’ fate.

“One South African, three Mozambicans and four Zimbabweans were allegedly busy with illegal mining activities when the water coming from heavy rains that fell in the area apparently pushed the soil that blocked the only point they were using for entry and exit. They then apparently suffocated.”

He said the community assisted in retrieving the bodies of the deceased miners.

“The police were called and on arrival they reportedly found that the local community members had already dug a hole and gained access to the miners and that they had already started retrieving the bodies.”

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Mojapelo said a case of illegal mining will be registered against the deceased miners.

“Charges in terms of the Immigration Act will also be preferred against the seven deceased as they were in the country illegally.”

“The postmorten will be conducted to determine the cause of death.”  

Illegal mining

The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe warned community members to desist from engaging in illegal mining activities reiterating that it is unsafe and also against the law.

“As a province, we have established a team to deal with illegal mining activities around the province, especially in the areas along the R37 road in Sekhukhune district and many illegal miners have been arrested and mining equipment confiscated,” said Lieutenant General Hadebe.

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