Pretoria – The police illicit mining task team in Mpumalanga has seized mining equipment worth R60 million rand at an illegal coal mine in Caroline.
The equipment, which includes excavators, bulldozers, and dump trucks, was seized by police during an intelligence-driven takedown operation on Tuesday, (19 September 2023).
Acting on a tip-off, the police task team pounced on the illegal mine, where a 53-year-old mine manager was arrested after he failed to produce a mining permit.
The mine was not licensed and is operating illegally.
About R12 million worth of coal found at the mine was also seized.
In the past 12 months, 748 coal yards across the country were visited by authorities to ensure compliance.
To date, 63 unregulated coal yards have been shut down.
The law says coal yards must be authorised to operate by the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy (DMRE) and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment (DFFE).
As a result of police operations initiated on 8 May 2023, as many as 335 illegal miners have been arrested at various hotspots across the country.
Commenting on the matter, SA Police Service Lieutenant General Tebello Mosikili said the illicit mining task team continues to register commendable progress.
Many thanks to the SANDF, DFFE, DMRE, and Water Affairs Department who also had a role to play in the success of this takedown,” said Lieutenant General Mosikili.
“Since the establishment of the Natjoints energy safety and security priority committee, we have intensified efforts to prevent and combat incidents of illegal mining activities.
“We are also working closely with all stakeholders to close and rehabilitate abandoned mine shafts to put a stop to these illegal mining activities.”
Police Spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said a manhunt was underway for the “owner” of the illegal coal mine.