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Rescue operation for illegal miners called off

Rescue operations in Roodepoort for three illegal miners have been suspended once again.

FILE: Rescue operations in Roodepoort for three illegal miners have been suspended once again. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Emergency Services says rescue operations at a shaft in Roodepoort where three illegal miners are believed to be trapped have been suspended once again.

The body of an illegal miner was recovered on Saturday night.

Officials say the 18-year-old man was brought to the surface by other illegal miners.

Emergency service's Nana Radebe says the scene is too dangerous for the search to continue.

"We found that carbon monoxide levels are not going down and after that we were alerted to a fire. We managed to contain the fire and we have since called off the search. We also urge others not to go down there because gas levels are very high."

Meanwhile, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has called on government to intensify efforts to track down kingpins of illegal mining operations.

The union's national executive committee met in Johannesburg on Saturday to discuss issues facing the mining industry.

NUM's Frans Baleni says, "This is a syndicate which involves international players. Those poor workers on the ground who are illegally mining are working for a bigger network. We ask the state machinery to arrest on the big guys."

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