Emergency workers were able to rescue 12 individuals trapped in an abandoned South Africa mine recently. According to Mining, the individuals were trapped after moving a large slab of concrete blocking the shaft. The shaft belonged to Gold One, a mining company with prospecting rights in the area. However, the company does not have projects currently active at the mine. Sources report that a rival organization placed the stone just days before the event.
Because the rescued individuals did not have mining rights in the region, they were arrested upon being helped out of the shaft. Emergency responders were able to communicate with a group of 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders, who said that there were 200 individuals in the shaft. However, officials have not confirmed the number of people at this point.
Some miners refused to leave the shaft as they feared legal recourse for their actions, forcing responders to cease rescue efforts at dusk on the day the individuals were discovered. Mining stated that security officials remain at the sight with police to free the miners still underground.
This is just one recent event in a series of illegal mining endeavors taking place in South Africa. According to Business Day Live, the country's elite police are working to crack down on these illegal projects, which they believe are being lead by a group of individuals.
"We will be going after the masterminds," said Major General Shadrack Sibiya. "We cannot allow this to continue."
Persons found engaged in illegal mining could face arrest, substantial fines and jail sentences. However, mining companies can help reduce these instances by obtaining as much resources as possible from a mine before abandoning the region for another location. In this way, there is little left over for illegal groups, encouraging them to stop the practice. By monitoring the health and functionality of key equipment, companies can leverage their machines for as much yield as possible.