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Precious-metals producer Sibanye-Stillwater arrested nearly 1,400 illegal miners at all its South African gold shafts in 2017 in a blitz the company says has mostly ended the practice at its mines. Illegal gold mining has plagued SA for decades and it costs the government and the industry more than R20bn a year in lost sales, taxes and royalties, according to a Chamber of Mines report in 2017. Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman vowed in 2017 to take the war to illegal miners and clear them from its shafts by January 2018. According to data provided to Reuters by Sibanye, it made 797 arrests in 2017 linked to illegal mining at its Cooke operations and 1,383 overall. The blitz peaked in June, with more than 500 arrests, above the 443 arrests in 2016 as a whole. While Sibanye fell short of its goal of stamping out illegal mining altogether, Sibanye’s head of security, Nash Lutchman, said based on available intelligence, "there are only about 40 to 50 illegal miners operating now, scattered acro...

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