The Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mpumalanga says illegal mining was the primary cause of the collapse of part of the Lily Mine near Barberton in 2016.
The court has been delivering the outcome of an inquest into the deaths of three mineworkers when a shaft of the mine collapsed.
The court says illegal mining weakened a crown pillar in the mine’s shaft that caused it to cave in. The workers were trapped underground after a lamp room container they were in disappeared into a sinkhole.
The remains of Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirenda are yet to be retrieved from underground. Attempts to retrieve their remains where abandoned for safety reasons.