Parliament mulls introducing legislation to formalise small scale mining

Parliament’s Mineral Resources Committee heard that illicit mining is impacting on national security, with miners and police officers being shot at.

FILE: Two police officers guard seized illegal mining equipment. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Parliament’s Mineral Resources Committee says it may have to look into introducing legislation to formalise small scale mining, with the illicit mining of gold, platinum and chrome, showing no signs of tapering off.

The committee heard on Friday that illicit mining is impacting on national security, with miners and police officers being shot at.

Desperate grandmothers and children in Limpopo are also joining “zama zamas” to make a living by mining chrome with their bare hands.

The Committee’s chairperson Zet Luzipho says, “One of the reasons is that the issue of illegal mining when it comes to trade, it also poses national security [risk]. How do you legalise the illegal, or how to you formalise the non-formal?”

Chief Inspector of Mines David Msiza says the method of marking sealed off gold, platinum and diamond mines is enticing more people to mine illegally.

“The disadvantage of that is that the illegal miners use that to see that to seal up. There used to be an old gold mine here, so what they would do is they will go dig there, especially in the Johannesburg area where it is very shallow and they will dig there and go underground.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)