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Deadly Illegal Mining Booms Below South African City of Gold

Smoke rises from a derelict mine shaft 25 miles east of Johannesburg, where illegal miners cook, work and sleep below ground for weeks at a time.

They have broken through a slab of concrete covering the entrance to the shaft, one of 6,000 abandoned mines, many around Johannesburg, known as “eGoli,” or “City of Gold” in Zulu. At least 40 unlawful prospectors have died in South Africa this year as mines collapse, workers succumb to poisonous gases and gangs wage turf wars underground.