Cops search for suspected illegal miners after gun battle

Police say no one was wounded during the incident and the suspects managed to escape.

FILE: Police are still searching for around 10 suspected illegal miners who were involved in a shoot out yesterday. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Police are still searching for around 10 suspected illegal miners who were involved in a shoot out yesterday with around 20 Ekurhuleni Metro Police officers at a gold mine dump in Benoni.

Police say the men suddenly opened fire on two officers who were on routine patrol.

They returned fire and requested back up.

Police say no one was wounded during the incident and the suspects managed to escape by fleeing into an abandoned mine shaft.

The police's Doniah Mothutsane says, "We are investigating a case of attempted murder and nobody has been arrested yet, we appeal to anyone who might have information to call or SMS us."

South Africa's high unemployment rate and the influx of illegal immigrants have been cited as some of the factors contributing to increased activities of illegal mining.

Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi has v owed to implement measures to eradicate illegal mining.

At the same time, another miner has died at Gold Fields's South Deep mine.

The company says the fatal "industrial-type" accident is the second in the last ten days.

Goldfields says its suspended operations in the affected area pending an investigation.

Earlier this week, another miner was killed during an underground accident at Harmony Gold's Kusasalethu mine on the West Rand.