VantageGoldfieldsThe Citizen reports that in the weeks leading up to the Lily Mine disaster in February, illegal mining activities became a serious concern for management and various plans were put in place to address the issue.  

Mike McChesney, CEO of Vantage Goldfields, which owns the mine, confirmed that he received information at the end of January indicating a spike in illegal activity at the mine.  Two days before the crown pillar collapse, it is believed that illegal miners – zama zamas – carried out blasting operations there.  Illegal miners apparently used old ventilation shafts to get out from underground for days after the collapse.  Operations director of Vantage Goldfields Mike Begg said it was possible that illegal blasting could have affected the stability of the area, but that the mine was not going to speculate about anything.

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