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30 'illegal miners' trapped in abandoned gold shaft

A rescue operation is underway to free 30 "illegal miners" trapped in an abandoned mine shaft near Johannesburg, South Africa. However many miners are reluctant to surface "for fear of being arrested", according to emergency services.

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Rain possible cause for shaft collapse: mining group

The company which owns the prospecting rights to the abandoned mine in which at least 30 "illegal miners" were trapped says heavy rain may have been a trigger for the shaft's collapse.

Chinese-owned bullion producer Gold One owns the prospecting rights to the abandoned gold shaft, however was not currently working in it.

Emergency services at the scene of an abandoned shaft where 30 "illegal miners" were trapped. Credit: @ER24EMS/Twitter

"The illegal miners have dug a tunnel right next to it to access the shaft and it has collapsed behind them," Gold One spokesman Grant Stuart said.

Emergency services in South Africa have been using a crane to shift a large concrete slab obstructing the shaft.

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