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Bodies of 10 illegal miners recovered in S. Africa

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, May 27, 2012 10:59 EDT
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The sun sets over the South African mining town of Kleinze in 2009.   (AFP)
 
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Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 10 illegal diamond minerswho were killed in a disused mine tunnel earlier in the week in theNorthern Cape province, officials said.

“By Saturday night 10 deceased diggers had been recovered from the collapsed tunnels,” said a statement issued late on Saturday by the DeBeers company which operates the mine in Kleinze.

“One digger has been rescued and eleven diggers reportedly escaped from the collapsing tunnels on Tuesday,” it said.

Kleinzee is one of the small mining towns in the arid and sparsely populated region of Namaqualand, in the Northern Cape, the country’s most sparsely-populated province where mining is the lifeblood of the region.

Two bodies were recovered on Tuesday, after the accident was reported.

According to De Beers, the tunnels were excavated illegally.

De Beers stopped operations in Namaqualand around three years ago pending the mines’ sale to fellow miner Trans Hex, which signed a 225-million-rand ($27-million, 21-million-euro) acquisition deal last year.

The mining giant closed down access to the mines in April when it discovered illegal miners from the area had started work in the tunnels.

Accidents involving illegal miners are common in South Africa, where impoverished diggers often take great risks to carve out tunnels or work in disused shafts at diamond and gold mines.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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