South Africa has created a task force to seal access points to mines in an attempt to cut the growth of illegal mining in the country.
It comes as three illegal miners were killed and another 18 trapped underground after a tunnel collapsed at a closed diamond mine, which former owner De Beers was selling to Trans Hex, iol.co.za reports.
The task force yesterday created by the South African minerals resources minister Susan Shabangu.
“Illegal mining is starting to rear its ugly head again as illicit activities have recently been reported in the Northern Cape, Free State and Gauteng,” Shabangu said.
She went on to say that illegal mining has previously been estimated to cost the country around 5 billion Rand ($612 million).
Illegal mining is a serious problem in Africa, with many closed or disused miners accessed by these illegal miners and operated in unsafe conditions, during which they are often injured and are known to cause mine collapse.
Earlier this month 27 illegal miners had to be rsecued after their underground mine collapsed.
Following the rescue, which took nearly about two hours per miner, 11 of those miners were immediately arrested.