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By Kyle Zeeman

Digital News Editor


PICS: How to run an illegal mine – 141 ‘illegal immigrants’ nabbed

Police, military, government and the Hawks have unearthed an illegal mine. Here's what goes into running one.


The military, police, and Hawks have swopped down to close an illegal mining operation in the North West recently, arresting over 100 suspected undocumented foreigners.

The suspects were nabbed in Tlhatlaganyane village outside Rustenburg. They are expected to appear in Mankwe Magistrates’ Court on Monday. There they face charges of contravening the Immigration Act.

The 141 suspected undocumented foreigners are mainly from Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

How to run a mine

The arrest also gave a glimpse into the equipment needed to run a minor illegal mine. Among the tools confiscated were 59 generators, 46 jackhammers, five gas cylinders, 49 wheelbarrows, 30 spades and 21 shovels.

Police also found 13 pickaxes, 27 hammers, four saws, a fork spade and an extension cord.

ALSO READ: ‘The fight against illegal mining is seeing results,’ says Ramaphosa

The mine also ran with three heater pumps, one cylinder pipe, one toolbox, three one-litre grease cleaners, and two chisels.

Wheelbarrows were among the equipment confiscated at the mine. Picture: Supplied/ SAPS

War on illegal mining

The scourge of illegal mining has spread across the country, with miners often linked to other serious crimes.

There was public outrage in 2022 after ten alleged illegal miners attacked a music video set and raped several women participating in it.

More recently, reports of miners hiring assassins to take out members of rival groups have increased.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said illegal mining was often connected to other criminal activities.

“Illegal mining is linked to other crimes such as money laundering, bribery and corruption, illicit financial flows, human and weapons trafficking, and other forms of organised crime,” the president said in November.

ALSO READ: Government intends to close all derelict mines, says JCPS cluster on illegal mining

The Justice Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster has previously stressed that the government was dealing with the issue of illegal mining.

It revealed that between April and August last year, more than 7 000 suspects involved in illegal mining were arrested for contravening immigration regulations.

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