Industry calls for action against illegal mining

Illegal mining poses a major threat to communities and the environment.
Illegal mining poses a major threat to communities and the environment.

Surface mining industry association, ASPASA, has called on law enforcement agencies to crack down on all illegal mining activities.

As more serious crimes perpetrated by illegal miners grab the headlines, other equally serious safety and environmental crimes are taking place that have the potential to affect communities. Simultaneously, legal mining operations and those who purchase the mined minerals (sand, aggregate, gold etc) need to remain up to date with new legislation and regulations to avoid falling foul of the law or buyers being complicit in these illegal activities.

Individuals, companies and even municipalities are mistakenly under the impression that they can remove ground or minerals wherever they want to, but this is not the case. The Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Act (MRPDA) is clear that once a material is taken away from its natural state it is, in fact, being mined.

Any sort of mining needs to be done in a manner that does not affect surrounding communities, harm the environment, or detract from future land use possibilities whether mining for gold, coal, clay, or aggregates.

“These are costly exercises and when ignored by illegal miners gives them a massively unfair advantage over legal operators in the industry. They don’t pay royalties, tax, or make any other statutory contributions to the government or towards the sustainability of the industry,” says ASPASA.

“Nor do they need to observe safety, health, environment, and quality legislation which means they can expose their employees to inhumane working conditions, as well as cause untold damage to the environment without fear of retribution.”