This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

Illegal Gold Mining In South Africa Brings Hope

Major said 500,000 people were working in gold mines in 1990, with the official number now 150,000. Some of those who lost their jobs are certainly doing illegal gold mining, he said.

Buyers often come to the ad hoc operations to weigh and purchase gold. Miners say they also sometimes sell gold within their squatter camps. Mthembu said he melts all his gold particles together and sells it at the end of the week.

Zingaphi Jakuja, spokeswoman for the South African Department of Mineral Resources, said the ministry is collaborating with law enforcement agencies to combat illegal mining "as the activities are generally fuelled by complex criminal activities."

Illegal miners are generally undeterred by the threat of arrest.

"When the police come, we run away. We've never gotten caught and we don't want to give them a reason to catch us," said 45-year-old Daniel Mazibuko who has three children and a wife. "It's illegal, but I still do it because I'm suffering and if there's no food at home I must do this job."

"Sometimes I make 100 to 150 rand ($11-$17) per day if I'm lucky. In my best week I've made 500 rand ($57)," he said.

On a recent day he was working with 21-year-old Siphelele Dyasi, who smoked a cigarette as he poured heavy buckets of water into a yellow plastic bin and shook it to separate the soil. The miners sometimes endanger their health by using mercury to extract the gold.

"There's no other choice, you go into it knowing the risks," said Dyasi, who came to Johannesburg from the distant Eastern Cape of South Africa after his father died and his mother couldn't provide for him and his brothers and sisters.

Dyasi and Mazibuko were trying their luck outside the Tudor Shaft mine, not far from the Durban Deep mine. At least five makeshift mining chutes could be seen among dusty fields of rock, orange dirt and black rocks near pools of water, that the miners use and recycle in their prospecting.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs