Alleged gold sent for testing

2018-06-15 06:00
PHOTOS: SUPPLIEDOne of the stones alleged to be gold.

PHOTOS: SUPPLIEDOne of the stones alleged to be gold.

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OFFICIALS from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy have taken samples of stones, which the community of Harding believe to gold, for testing.

The officials visited a quarry opened by a construction project at KwaMachi area outside Harding last Friday.

According to Umuziwabantu Municipal speaker Mzwandile Nyathi, mineral resources officials took some samples with the aim of testing and will give results to the municipality. “The municipality convened a meeting with the Department of Minerals and Energy officials and they took samples for testing. There will be more job opportunities if the results come positive,” said Nyathi.

He added that Harding has many unemployed people and underdeveloped homes.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala engaged with stakeholders at a meeting held in Harding on Sunday where a decision to stop operations at the site was made.

The decision was made after residents flooded the area to search for what they believed was gold.

Traditional leaders, mayors, geologists and community leaders raised serious concerns that mining operations were putting the lives of diggers in danger as there were cases of workers being injured by falling rocks on a daily basis.

“The illegal mining was also causing unnecessary tension among villagers who compete for mining space.

“We have all agreed that there is currently no evidence that what is being mined here is real gold and we have agreed to ensure that no further mining activities take place. Geologists from the Department of Mineral Resources will continue to investigate whether or not there is any potential for the exploration of gold in the area. We expect them to give us the final report in the next two months and we call on our people to allow this process to unfold,” said Zikalala.

He added that the provincial government was worried that the “gold rush” had also led to pupils missing classes.

“We have been told that some pupils no longer go to school and they spend the whole day at the mine selling stones. This has to end.

We have been assured by the law enforcement agencies that the decisions we have taken today will be enforced,” he added.

Local chief Mthetho Machi said they were not aware of the potential for gold when the construction project was given permission to dig for the road construction in the area.

He asked people to stay away from the quarry because it is unsafe.

“Last week I saw over 4 000 people digging up what they assume to be gold and I instructed them to move away.

“If this is actually gold, the lives of people within the municipality will be improved,” said Machi.

The area has since been fenced in and police are patrolling the area.

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