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Illegal mining costing mining companies billions

NUM’s Frans Baleni says illegal mining syndicates are very broad and highly organised.

FILE: Gauteng Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba says illegal mining in Gauteng has been underestimated and the practice is growing increasingly violent. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says illegal mining is costing mining companies billions of rands in loss of revenue every year.

On Thursday around 10 suspected illegal miners were involved in a shootout with around 20 Ekurhuleni Metro Police officers at a gold mine dump in Benoni.

Police say the men suddenly opened fire with AK-47s on two officers who were on routine patrol.

NUM's Frans Baleni says illegal mining syndicates are very broad and highly organised.

"We have been saying to the safety and security officers that they need to find through intelligence the king pin's so they can arrest them in order to stop what's happening underground."

Gauteng Police Commissioner Lesetja Mothiba says illegal mining in Gauteng has been underestimated and the practice is growing increasingly violent.

Mothiba on Friday attended the destruction of more than 9,000 illegal guns in the Vaal.

Mothiba says yesterday's 10 minute shoot-out has revealed the kind of access these men have to illegal weapons.

No one was arrested in the confrontation as the group fled back to an abandoned mine dump and went underground.

The commissioner says a widespread investigation conducted over the past five years will soon reveal who is behind the syndicates.

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