Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe said it was important for the department to take illegal mining and cable theft seriously.
Failing which, the mining industry will go to the dogs, he said.
"Illegal mining is costing the country so dearly," said Mantashe
Mantashe was speaking at Gloria mine in Middleburg, Mpumalanga on Friday following the deaths of alleged cable thieves who entered the shaft illegally and died there after a gas explosion.
Twenty-two others are believed to still be trapped underground.
Mantashe went to the mine to receive a progress report on the rescue operation because thus far efforts to retrieve the bodies have had to be put on hold due to safety reasons....
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