Thousands of illegal miners have invaded a piece of land near Port Nolloth in the Northern Cape, where they’ve been digging for diamonds for the past few days.
The miners say poverty drove them to the piece of land that belongs to State-owned diamond company Alexkor. The mine had leased the invaded land to contractors who shared the diamonds they found with the mining company.
Many of the miners are from COVID-19 hotspot provinces, including the Western and Eastern Cape. Few are wearing masks and many do not adhere to social distancing.
Fears abound that it could lead to a spike in infections.
Acting Mine CEO Gerone Cloete says, “The current activities are illegal and will be treated as such, this is very dangerous activity, as per the act and we are worried as a corporate citizens for the health and safety of these people, specifically during the pandemic…”
“Although we sympathise with the existing socio-economic conditions in our communities, we encourage persons who make themselves guilty to stop it immediately. We are currently meeting with different stakeholders to put a stop to the illegal activities…” Cloete.
Thousands of illegal miners invade diamond-rich land near Port Nolloth:
Mining companies across the country continue to experience an escalation in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in their operations.
According to the Minerals Council, the mining sector has recorded 1 796 positive cases and six COVID-19 related deaths. Over 930 of the cases are in the North West.
Over 450 positive cases have been recorded at the Impala Platinum Mine in Rustenburg.