Illegal miners warned that access hole will be shut

Johannesburg - Authorities have sent communication to the illegal miners in the abandoned Gold One Kleinfontein Mine in Benoni that the access hole will be sealed on 3 March, according to EWN.

The Ekurhuleni emergency services could not be reached for comment.

It is unclear whether more illegal miners will resurface from the mine, authorities have said.

Emergency services officials say they convinced 11 men to leave the mine earlier on Monday, making 22 the number of rescued miners.

EWN reports that up to 300 men could still be stuck underground.

Officials say that a rival group may have barricaded the miners in on Saturday while trying to rob them of their gold.

The illegal miners were found on Sunday while emergency services were conducting operations around illegal mining in the area. They heard screaming from the abandoned mine.

Rescue mission abandoned

Rescue workers abandoned their rescue mission on Sunday evening after the remaining men refused to be brought to the surface.

Emergency workers said they would not be returning to the mine until the miners indicated they were ready to come up.

It is said that the miners would rather stay down in the shaft than come to the surface and face arrest.

A makeshift ladder has been left hanging from above the ground for the miners to hoist themselves to safety.

All 22 people that have come to the surface have been arrested and charged with illegal mining.

EWN says that the suspects will appear in a Benoni court on Tuesday.

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