Shabangu has appealed to members of the Gauteng Illegal Mining Stakeholders Forum to find more sustainable methods for the closure of open holes, shafts and tunnels underground to prevent illegal miners from reopening sealed access points, specifically in the East and West Rand of the province.
This follows after 25 illegal miners had to be rescued from the New Kleinfontein Gold Mine on the 16 February 2014.
The department, through the Council Geoscience,has sealed 130 holes and shafts since they have been identified, with the remaining 51 sealed by mines operating in the area.
“As more holes and open shafts are discovered, they are sealed, but we need better, more sustainable methods which will close these openings permanently,” said Shabangu.
“Illegal mining has economic implications and long-term rehabilitation implications, and this is why we must continue to fight it from all angles.”
The department also stated that tougher charges and sentencing will be applied to illegal mining.