Suspected illegal miners believed to be Lesotho nationals, died in Free State province on May 18, but Department of Mineral Resources and Energy received information on Thursday.
At least 31 suspected illegal miners have died in an abandoned mine in South Africa’s east-central province, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said in a statement.
The suspected illegal miners believed to be Lesotho nationals, died in the Free State province on May 18, but the department said it received the information on Thursday after the Lesotho Foreign Affairs Ministry informed the South African Foreign Ministry.
The suspected illegal miners are reported to have died in a mine ventilation shaft that was last operational in the 1990s.
“Although the information on this tragic situation comes sporadically, we are doing our utmost best to act on the information,” the department said.
It is illegal to enter an abandoned mine shaft in South Africa, but many illegal miners find a way to get there.
South Africa is one of the world’s largest producers of gold and other precious minerals. There are many closed mine shafts scattered across the country.
Abandoned mines have attracted a large number of illegal miners from both within the country and from the southern African region.