Illegal mining poses a major threat to mines and quarries 

Illegal mining is a growing trend in South Africa.

Illegal mining and gangsterism threaten to derail the country’s mining and quarrying industry, unless role players urgently pull together to urgently bring the scourge to a halt, warns surface mining industry association, ASPASA.

ASPASA, one of the most vocal organisations on the topic, says the clock is winding down and the South African mining industry is on the brink of a catastrophe if immediate action is not taken. Director Nico Pienaar says the stakes are high and the industry is fast approaching a tipping point.

“Illegal mining puts undue pressure on surface mining companies already struggling spiralling input costs and generally tough trading conditions. On the contrary, illegal miners seem to operate with impunity, and bypass regulations to undercut prices of legitimate producers,” says Pienaar.

“This is unsustainable and has already led to the demise of many smaller and marginal mines. Perhaps even more scary is the increasing violence of mine invaders and gangsters who have emboldened to a point where they are now kidnapping mine managers’ families and demand massive ransoms. Killings and threats are becoming the order of the day and require urgent attention.

“ASPASA has explored several avenues to deal with the issue of illegal mining with little success, despite considerable press coverage and awareness created. We are however working closely with authorities to supply them with relevant information.

“We are asking our members and other mines to contact us with information about the situation in their areas. The information requested will be utilised for the creation of a field report, which will provide insights on the trends (particularly the modus operandi utilised), the economic impact and the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts.”

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