South Africa’s Sibanye arrest 178 illegal miners

South Africa’s Sibanye Gold says 178 illegal miners have now been arrested at its Cooke operations since the start of a violent wildcat strike last Tuesday. A company source, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak on the record, also said the strike was continuing. The strike was triggered by worker resentment at a company drive to root out illegal miners, who pilfer gold from its shafts after gaining access by employee collusion. The illegal miners arrested have been forced to come to the surface because of the strike, which has emptied the shafts of employees, thereby starving them of their sources of food and water underground. Sibanye said the strike, which has seen 16 miners assaulted in a wave of intimidation, included the arrest of employees for collusion and a policy that forbids food in underground operations. Illegal gold mining has plagued South Africa for decades, with bullion pilfered from both operating and disused mines. Sibanye has vowed it will clear all illegal miners from its shafts by January 2018.