The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy welcomes arrest of 20 illegal mining suspects

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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has welcomed the arrest of 20 suspects alleged to have been involved in illegal mining operations in Stilfontein in the North West.

Twenty four firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition and cash were also seized during the operation led by the Hawks. The department added that illegal mining is a criminal activity that not only impacts the economy but also compromises national security.

Department spokesperson Makhosonke Buthelezi says, ”It is for this reason that the Department of Mineral Resources supports the efforts of the law enforcement agencies and mining industry stakeholders to eliminate illegal mining. Therefore we commend the collaboration between the Hawks and SAPS for a successful bust of a such serious  criminal operation.”

The Police Ministry says it is only through a concerted effort with other stakeholders that illegal mining can be curbed. The police management led by Minister Bheki Cele visited Stilfontein in the North West, where twenty (20) suspected illegal miners were nabbed by the police.

Cele says, ”Minister Gwede Mantashe will have to play a very big role, together with Home Affairs, because some of the people will have to be taken back, those that have not committed crime and owners of the mines will have to come on board in terms of rehabilitation of these mines.”

Surveillance operation yields arrest of 20 alleged illegal miners, further arrests possible