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Trouble at the Aurora Mine:

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Echo20   Thursday, 12/09/10 01:32:08 AM
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Trouble at the Aurora Mine:

More than 300 illegal miners arrested at Grootvlei – Aurora
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By: Loni Prinsloo
8th December 2010

Updated 7 hours agoTEXT SIZE JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Embattled Aurora Empowerment Systems said on Wednesday that it was being held under siege by illegal miners plundering the Grootvlei mine, east of Johannesburg.

Aurora GM Louis Lamsley said that the “extremely violent” illegal miners had been stripping unused shafts of metal and other valuables since the mine went on to care and maintenance in March.

The situation forced the company to “beef up” its security on Friday, which according to Lamsley has led to the arrest of more than 300 illegal miners.

“We are not sure how many more of these illegal miners are down in the shafts. The security guards have to wait for them to come out of the shafts before arresting them, it is too dangerous to go down the shafts.”

The recent arrests had led to a shoot-out between the police and the illegal miners, leaving one illegal miner wounded.

In August, security guards at the mine shot and killed four illegal miners.

“It will cost tens of millions of rand to repair the damage that has been done by these illegal miners,” said Lamley.

Aurora had been struggling with a lack of funds since it took over from the liquidated Pamodzi Gold in October last year. The Department of Labour has indicated that the company owed its workers more than R11-million, or about five months in wages.

A State-owned Chinese mining company reportedly made a $100-million bid to take a 65% stake in Aurora and take operational control of Grootvlei and the Orkney mine.

Lamley said that additional funds from certain “interested parties” could be well used to get the mine up and running again. “The plan is still to restart production at these mines.”

Edited by: Mariaan Webb
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Echo20

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