Illegal mining and gangsterism threatens to bring the country’s mining industry to its knees unless its role-players work together to stamp these scourges out. Surface mining industry association and one of the most vocal organisations on the topic, ASPASA, says the clock is winding down and the South African mining industry is at the brink of catastrophe if immediate action is not taken. Its director, Nico Pienaar, says the stakes are high and the industry is fast approaching the tipping point.
“Illegal mining puts undue pressure on our surface mining companies who are already under pressure due to regulatory, economic and spiralling input costs on their mines. On the contrary, illegal miners seem to operate with impunity above the law and bypass regulations to undercut pricing of legitimate miners.
“This is unsustainable and has already led to the demise of many of the smaller and more marginal mines. Perhaps even more scary is the increasing violence of mine invaders and gangsters who have emboldened to point where they are kidnapping mine managers’ wives and demanding massive ransoms. Killings and threats are becoming the order of the day and requires urgent attention.
“ASPASA has tried many avenues to intervene with the issue of illegal mining in our area of influence with little success even despite considerable press coverage and awareness created. Our latest attempts to bring the scourge to a halt is by 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 utilized for the creation of a field report, which will provide insights on the prevalent trends (particularly the modus operandi utilized), the economic impact and the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts.
“This may be submitted to us in order to enable authorities to develop strategies on how to deal with the issue of illegal mining. We therefore are appealing for this type of information to be sent to us to escalate this illegal problem,” says Nico.