South Africa: 'This Chrome Is Our Only Hope'

analysis

Limpopo's unlicensed artisanal miners brave police raids and falling rocks to beat poverty as the government remains indecisive about the issuing of permits.

Suzan Makgareetsa was killed when a column of rocks collapsed and buried her alive. She was among dozens of unlicensed artisanal miners eking out a living on various informal chrome mine operations in the Sekhukhune area of Limpopo.

"She was unemployed. She went there with the others because they were hungry. Everyone goes there because they make some money," says Petros Mmampholo Teka about his daughter's gruesome death.

An artisanal miner working in a trench on a mine in Atok in the Sekhukhune district of Limpopo. (Photo: Lucas Ledwaba / Mukurukuru Media)

Teka is the kgoši [traditional leader] of the Babina Tlou Ba ga Teka Traditional Authority. His home is in Mogolaneng, a village in the Atok area under the Greater Tubatse municipality. It is located along a stretch of mountains bearing the sought-after chrome metal mineral in the Sekhukhune district of Limpopo.

The 90km belt which stretches from the villages in Atok in the north-west to Steelpoort in the south-east, is a battlefield between small scale artisanal miners, large scale industrial mines and the authorities.

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