• Dark underworld

    Dark underworld

    Illegal mining is on the rise in South Africa, where the annual commercial value of illicit dealings in precious metals and diamonds is estimated at more than ZAR7 billion, according to PwC’s most recent SA Mine report. This is equivalent to the revenue generated from around 430 000 oz of gold (at current market prices).

    Analysis of companies included in the study – AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Pan African Resources and Sibanye-Stillwater – found that the country’s gold sector has been the most affected by illegal mining. However, South Africa is not the only country where illegal mining is a problem – AngloGold Ashanti reported that it was most impacted at its Obuasi mine in Ghana.

    ‘Gold’s high value, the large number of abandoned old gold mining areas and the relative ease of finding willing buyers has made it a commodity easily targeted for illegal mining,’ the report states. Illegal mining, however, also takes place in the chrome, diamond and coal sectors.

    28 November 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images