Patrols to stop dangerous illegal mining
Gravelotte gold mine shafts on the East Rand are being patrolled in an attempt to stop illegal mining, mine owner Manhattan Corporation said on Monday.
“All Gravelotte shafts are patrolled daily by our own security, and up to six times per day in certain locations, to avoid access by illegal miners to the unsafe environment,” Manhattan said in a statement.
A group of about 20 illegal miners were killed in a rockfall at the mine earlier this month.
“The location of the deceased illegal miners falls within a tributing area controlled by Pamodzi, although the precise location is not known to a better accuracy of roughly 500 metres due to a lack of survey pegs underground.”
Pamodzi Gold owns the Grootvlei mines in Gauteng, and Orkney in the North West. Grootvlei and Orkney were bought by Aurora Empowerment Systems after Pamodzi Gold went into liquidation.
Manhattan said it was committed to securing its facilities alongside Pamodzi, despite the fact that the mine was inactive.
“Gravelotte has 14 sealed or guarded shafts as opposed to neighbouring mine Pamodzi’s approximately 145 shafts, the majority of which are neither sealed nor guarded,” it said.
The company said the area where deceased illegal miners were found, was last mined in the 1940s.
It was unstable and dangerous, especially due to the explosives used by the illegal miners.
These apparently included hand grenades.
Manhatten said the illegal miners gained access through 11 shaft, which was controlled by Pamodzi.
“Gravelotte shafts are all closed except for ventilation shafts or shafts requested to be opened by the police to arrest illegal miners.”
The mine is near Grootvlei, where former Big Brother contestant Brad Wood and four others allegedly shot dead four alleged illegal miners at the embattled Aurora Empowerment Systems mine last year.
Wood, who was head of security at Aurora’s Grootvlei Mine, and co-accused site manager Nicholas Pretorius, Herbie Trouw, Willem Coetzer and Mickey Mazaan, were found not guilty of murder and attempted murder following the killing, near Springs, in August.
Grootvlei mine is owned by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma and former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela.