Original Research

Exploring strategies for management of disasters associated with illegal gold mining in abandoned mines: A case study of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality

Khodani Matshusa, Llewellyn Leonard
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 14, No 1 | a1237 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v14i1.1237 | © 2022 Khodani Matshusa, Llewellyn Leonard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 October 2021 | Published: 11 March 2022

About the author(s)

Khodani Matshusa, Department of Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Llewellyn Leonard, Department of Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa


Due to many abandoned mines that are not rehabilitated, there will be illegal mining. Although the mining industry and government continue to prevent illegal gold mining in abandoned mines by sealing open shafts, it is not possible to close all the shafts at once due to limited resources. Furthermore, after sealing the shafts, illegal miners often create alternative openings to enter underground workings while little or nothing is being done to stop the surface illegal gold mining. As long as illegal gold mining is there, disasters associated with illegal mining are prevalent. Effective disaster preparedness and response requires a competent strategy. The purpose of this study was to develop a strategy that can be used for emergency preparation and rescue efforts associated with disasters caused by abandoned mines and illegal gold mining. In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews were held with officials and experts on disaster management from the Council for Geoscience and the City of Ekurhuleni. This study indicates that the safety of illegal miners and communities near abandoned mines depends on several factors including the ability to identify and respond to a disaster. The study identified three interlinked themes within the report as strategies for dealing with disasters related to abandoned mines and illegal gold mining. These themes included emergency countermeasures and short-term measures, roles and responsibilities and communication. These interlinked themes should be validated through further research that involves input from the national disaster response community at large. This study will serve as a model that can be implemented in other areas impacted by illegal mining in South Africa.


disaster management; abandoned mines; illegal gold mining; City of Ekurhuleni; South Africa


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