Police have arrested four suspects in connection with illegal mining at Schilpadnest in Northam, Limpopo, provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Malesela Ledwaba, said on Thursday.
Lt. Col. Ledwaba said the suspects, aged between 20 and 40, were arrested on Wednesday in possession of an interlink truck loaded with minerals estimated at R900, 000.
The joint operation conducted by members of the Limpopo SOCIU Illegal Mining Task Team, the Technical Response Team and the Department of Minerals and Energy’s Environmental Affairs Inspectors uncovered one articulated dump truck, two excavators valued at R3,2 million and a chrome worth R120 000 – all abandoned in the mine.
“This brings the total number of illegal miners arrested in Limpopo over the past two weeks to 52. Other suspects have been arrested in Sekhukhune District under the jurisdiction of Apel and Mecklenburg police,” said Lt. Col. Ledwaba.
“Since illegal mining activities have become a source of frustration to our country, this development should bring comfort to our communities that the police are capable of dealing with these illegal activities. I, therefore, commend our team in Northam for the latest arrests,” added Lt. Col. Ledwaba.
Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe praises the Limpopo police team for its efforts in arresting the suspects.
“With these arrests, we demonstrate our commitment to eradicating all illegal mining activities mushrooming in our province, and we send them a clear message that we have zero tolerance for illegal mining,” said Lt. Gen Hadebe.