JOHANNESBURG- The bodies of 10 illegal diamond miners were pulled from a disused mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, diamond giant De Beers said late on Saturday.
De Beers officials have been at the site since Tuesday after a tunnel collapsed in an area where the diamond producer had stopped mining two years ago.
“The operation will progress until all illegally excavated tunnels are found, De Beers said in a statement.
Eleven diggers reportedly escaped from the collapsing tunnels on Tuesday and one survivor has been recovered.
The area is on the edge of Namaqualand Mines, which De Beers is in the process of selling to Johannesburg-listed miner Trans Hex.
South Africa has the world’s deepest gold mines and is the top producer of platinum. Old or abandoned shafts are often worked by informal diggers, many of them migrants from Zimbabwe or Mozambique.
South Africa has set up a team to seal access points at mines in a bid to stem an apparent resurgence in illegal mining, the mines minister said on Thursday.