(a) The department has established provincial illegal mining stakeholder forums in Mpumalanga, Free State, Gauteng and Northern Cape Provinces. Various stakeholders such as government departments (i.e. National, Provincial and local government), law enforcement agencies, mining companies, unions and associations, municipalities, certain SOEs, refineries and organized communities participate in these forums. Physical activities such as closure of open mine holes, arrests, prosecutions and convictions, deportations, disruptive operations and encouragement of land use/occupation have been conducted which led to a significant decrease of this practice. The illegal mining space is decreasing which result to illegal miners fighting for the remaining limited space and resorting to other crimes.
(b) The above mentioned Provincial Stakeholder Forums have action plans of which the output is measured against the action plan. Since the establishment of the Provincial Illegal Mining Stakeholder Forums progress has been made on combating illegal mining activities. The following has been achieved through the Provincial Illegal Mining Stakeholder Forums:
- Illegal miners were arrested and continued to be arrested and convicted.
- Illegal imigrants who are also involved in illegal mining activities were arrested and continued to be arested and deported.
- Mining permits have been issued to mining companies to conduct legitimate mining in areas that were infested with illegal mining.
- Most of the open holes and open shafts where illegal mining was taking place have been sealed, rehabilitated or closed.
- Land where illegal mining was taking place has been rehabilitated and used for development.
- People were employed through rehabilitation and shaft sealing projects.
- Conviction rates have increased from 2 months to 8 years.
- Reef outcrop and sub-oucrop areas where illegal mining was taking place has been succesfully mined and continued to be mined by legitimate mining companies.
Mr MJ Zwane, MP
Minister of Mineral Resources