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NUM, Minerals Council call for special police unit to deal with illegal mining

Illegal miners extract billions of rand worth of minerals from closed mines, while the industry was complaining of a siege by armed robbers who storm operations regularly.

Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the Minerals Council South Africa on Monday called on government to establish a special police unit to deal with crime in the sector.

Illegal miners extract billions of rand worth of minerals from closed mines, while the industry was complaining of a siege by armed robbers who stormed operations regularly.

Last week, Minerals Council SA CEO Roger Baxter said the industry was under siege with precious metals, products, and copper theft the order of the day.

Baxter hoped Finance Minister Tito Mboweni would announce steps to fix this when he presented the Budget speech on Wednesday.

NUM general secretary David Sipunzi said the problem also affected the fiscus negatively.

“If illegal mining were to be regulated, they would be paying tax. Money is lost by the mining houses and the state due to illegal mining,” Sipunzi said.

Mining industry leaders said they were engaging with law enforcement agencies to remedy the situation.