Illegal miners disappear and leave equipment behind after receiving a tip off about sting operation
THE police and officials from the Department of Mineral Resources have closed down an illegal chrome mine in Burgersfort, confiscating equipment but failing to corner the miners who proved to be a step ahead of them. The illegal miners disappeared and left their equipment behind after apparently receiving a tip off about the planned sting operation. Tippers, drilling machine and excavators were among the equipment seized by the police. This came after authorities at Anglo Platinum’s Bokoni Mine obtained a court order against the illegal miners. The miners allegedly had the support of the local community.
Police said they had planned to arrest the illegal miners, but found no one on site when they arrived. General Masipa Maepa said the illegal miners appeared to have been tipped off as they left the area just before the police pounced on them. “What happened is that there was a complaint of illegal mining reported to us. Ultimately the complainant gained a court order to stop the operation,” Maepa said. “When we came here we found they have disappeared. It appears they have received information because we had made a proper planning for two days, but when we came here we realised that it were only machines that were left.”
He said they have confiscated more than twelves machines apparently used to mine the chrome. Police said the machines were confiscated because had been used in the commission of crime. “There is a law in the country that people should respect, and if they don’t comply they will face the police,” added Maepa. According to the police, the open cast mine was abandoned by the Jackals mining company more than four decades ago. Some small scale miners apparently tried to mine but were repeatedly stopped. However, residents recently moved in and started mining chrome with spades and shovels. They later brought equipmentand mined closer to the residential