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okaycuckoo

Ghost Miners

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Heard about this on R4 today - weird weird weird:

On the illegal, or "ghost," miners who steal from the Mponeng mine

They spend such a long time underground ... that their skin turns gray. They get this ghostly pallor and the reason they stay down for a long time is that it's very difficult to get in and out. Even though they [have] infiltrated [past] the mine's security, it's still not a cake walk.

The reason that they get past the mine security is that these people are employed by criminal syndicates — very, very powerful criminal syndicates that control an absolute circus of gold mine theft in South Africa. ... They steal ore from there; they refine it inside the tunnel, usually using very, very toxic methods, like mercury, which no doubt poison them. ... Security isn't very keen to go looking for these people because, in a mine, you can hear someone coming a long way off, and these people are armed and they wouldn't hesitate to shoot security and get into gunfights. ...

There's this huge amount of theft going on. At least 10 percent, and probably more like 20 percent, of the available ore at gold mines in South Africa is stolen. That is about $2 billion worth a year, certainly with a lot of collaboration, including the police.

On how legitimate miners benefit from the presence of illegal miners The illegal miners who are also sapping away at the mine, they are a source of revenue for the legitimate workforce of the mine, because it's those miners who are allowed to be there ... who supply them. A loaf of bread that costs less than $1 on the surface costs $12 underground. Making a couple of extra sandwiches and putting them in your lunch bucket, you can make some serious extra money.

http://www.npr.org/2...ple-do-for-gold

edit: the sub-title should be, What people will do for food!

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