In South Africa, the illegal mining industry continues to flourish, almost in defiance of global commodities slump, which has resulted in some mining companies closing or “rightsizing” their operations. This can be inferred from growing number of deaths, which signify increasing or constant level of activity. Chillingly, illegal mining continues to attract risk-taking participants who are even willing to take the bullet to secure the precious ore.
The outcome of the recent court case that RDM Newswire reported has produced intriguing facts:
- The grafters, the middlemen and the refineries
In the sector, there are three key players: the grafters who willing to go down deep into the belly of hazardous and unforgivable abandoned mines, and, the middle men who buy for a dime and sell them at market prices to refineries.
- The middle men can face the might of the law
Three middle men who profited from proceeds of illegal mining ten years ago were convicted this week in a landmark court ruling in Johannesburg. This was the first time the kingpins have faced the might of the law, and representatives of mining companies believe this sends a strong message to all perpetrators.
- Illegal mining worth 10% of Gold industry
Statistics of illegal mining cannot be easily compiled owing to its underhand nature. However, in 2013 South Africa’s Chamber of Mines estimated that it could be worth about 10% of gold industry production, and that’s conservatively.
- Illegal minerals can be laundered
Another fact that emerged from the recent court ruling in South Africa is that one offender with a legitimate dealer can buy from an illegal miner and pass the products as acquired legitimately.