Blue Hawk Tactical

Illegal Mining in South Africa 2020

Illegal Mining in South Africa – Key Statistics and Information 2020

How big is the Zama Zama problem when it comes to Illegal mining?

  1. In South Africa Illegal Mining is often linked to human smuggling and trafficking, illegal weapons and explosives, tax evasion, money laundering, corruption, and gang-related activities
  2. Illegal mining costs South Africa’s economy around R21 billion annually
  3. South Africa reportedly has over 16 000 illegal miners operating in the country, from gold to platinum, chrome, diamonds, and even sand mining
  4. On the east rand of Johannesburg, there are frequent gang wars between the Basothos, the Mozambiqueans, and the Zimbabweans
  5. The Basothos are the security detail of the illegal miners, from Lesotho and are typically armed with rifles, AK47’s, some also have grenades, rocket launchers, automatic weapons, and mortars.

Areas most affected by Illegal mining?

Hot Spots are typically areas where there is easy access to gold, platinum, and chrome mining areas.Abandoned mines or existing operating shafts where syndicates operate to infiltrate and mine or steal gold illegally from commercial mines
On the East Rand – near Golden Drive as an example, there are reportedly thousands of Zama Zama’s working on the surface using Phenduka plants (a manual processing plant) to treat stolen gold ore,
A Drone video can easily see Phenduka plants operating in Daveyton, or Lindelani – Some documentaries of these areas are already on youtube
The area has seen a number of murders including of illegal mining gang members, and even motorists who have broken down and were murdered, as the area is an illegal mining hotspot so if you come into their territory you run the risk of being killed
Other hotspots include Carletonville on the West of Johannesburg, mining areas in the North West, Free State, and Rustenburg areas for Platinum and Chrome-based illegal mining.

Nationality of Illegal Miners and Arrests Made

This is a sensitive topic as we are all African however the facts remain that 90% of illegal miners arrested on the east rand are from Lesotho, Mozambique, or Zimbabwe and ~ 10 % are South African50 % of the people apprehended who are involved in underground or surface illegal mining are between the ages of 11 and 18 (underage). Conditions underground are perilous as the Zama Zama’s open up areas, where there is natural radioactivity, minimal ventilation with reported underground prostitution, drug dealing, and trade in explosives and weaponsAbandoned mines are adjacent to existing holes/shafts sealed by existing mining companies, which have been blasted open 26 times in one specific area

Why is illegal mining on the rise?

With a gold price that has doubled in the past years, the returns for illegal miners are high.

What action is needed to stop this?

  • South Africa’s legislation aims to regulate artisanal mining but has little effect on illegal mining
  • In 2017, Ghana commissioned a 400-member contingent to combat illegal mining and introduced a two-year ban in the most affected regions of the country. By the time the ban was lifted in December 2018, it was reported that around 1 687 illegal miners had been arrested
  • The DMR gave licenses to a number of illegal miners in Kimberley to mine for diamonds in partnership with a local mining company. However, those without licenses then embark on illegal mining activity for those who don’t ( the same way illegal miners steal from an existing mining company)
  • Blue Hawk Tactical as a private security company has in the past 32 months arrested over 2,100 illegal miners on the east rand and south of Johannesburg.

Lasting Solutions?

  • Jobs must be created and production must be expanded – More jobs = Less crime
  • Mines should be incentivised by the government for those who create jobs and expand their production in previously abandoned areas, as these are the hotspots that attract foreigners and criminal syndicates
  • Make it easier for the mines to do business and acquire permits in abandoned areas where there is a criminal activity so they can take over
  • Combine a security solution for existing mining companies to secure their areas
  • Blue Hawk Tactical is ready to provide its Customised Mining Security Solution combining Armed and Unarmed Guarding, and Anti-Illegal Mining Squads
  • Our Tactical members have Military Training, Sweeping Skills, and Tracking to hunt for criminals in the bush, underground and open cast mines
  • Our Armed Guarding Solutions protect mining companies from criminal threats and use digital guarding solutions to measure and control access, movement of high-value product, waybills, and truck and personnel movement
  • Radar systems that can monitor movement and identification of humans, vs animal vs vehicles on your perimeter
  • CCTV combining License Plate Recognition and Facial recognition
  • Drone Monitoring and Response Teams
  • Advanced K9, Tactical and Air wing Support and Attack Squads ready to be deployed for any operations
  • Pipe monitoring for slimes and slurry movement
  • Plant Protection
  • Smelt Protection and Final Recovery Detail

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