Grandmother Clara Maitse has been arrested seven times over the past decade for illegally mining precious stones in Kimberley, SA’s diamond hub. Despite the steep legal penalties for DIY mining, the mother of 11 was not "scared of being arrested because the earth and its minerals belong to us black people". Unlike formal mining operations, small-scale miners pan for precious minerals around the edge of established quarries in the hope of coming up lucky. "We voted for Mandela and now there is no more fear," added Maitse. Her defiant patience has paid off and small-scale mining, an industry that employs many thousands of people, has been decriminalised for the first time under a permit system. In April, Maitse and 800 other illicit miners received licences to operate on a vast tract of land near Kimberley. The landmark deal was aimed at curbing the rapid growth of illegal mining, which has been spurred on by rising unemployment. "The most effective way of combating illegal mining is ...

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