Miners dig up more skeletons
WHILE yesterday’s discovery by artisanal miners of two more shallow graves was disruptive to dayto-day operations, determining who the deceased were and how they died is more important than digging for diamonds according to the chairperson of the Kimberley Artisanal Mineworkers (KAMW), Lucky Seekoei.
The skeletal remains were uncovered at around 11am yesterday by an artisanal miner, who was processing the floors near Kenilworth when he noticed something unusual.
“When I first noticed the bones I was not entirely sure what to make of it and I kept digging to see what exactly had been buried,” said the miner on the scene yesterday.
“The hole was not nearly deep enough for this to have been a proper grave, so I got quite a fright when I realised that I had unearthed human bones.
“I don’t know how these people died, nor who buried them there, but this was always De Beers’ ground so someone from that company must have had something to do with it.”
Yesterday’s discovery brings the number of shallow graves uncovered by the artisanal miners in less than a fortnight to four.
The first was found by workers near the Samaria Road operations on Thursday, September 20, while another was unearthed in West End on Heritage Day.
Seekoei said that while these finds proved disruptive to their mining operations, determining the identity of the deceased and the circumstances surrounding their deaths were of the utmost importance.
“Whenever a discovery like this is made, we have to stop immediately,” Seekoei explained yesterday. “It is a disruption to have our operations ground to a halt, but under these circumstances we really don’t mind.
“Finding a shallow grave is a perfectly good reason to put work on hold as every skeleton has a story to tell.
“It is crucial that we allow the relevant authorities to conclude their investigations and we are willing to wait for the results.”
Head of Archaeology at the McGregor Museum, David Morris, was called to the sight yesterday to evaluate the remains.
Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, confirmed yesterday that an investigation was under way and urged anyone with information to come forward.
“Police have opened an inquiry after artisanal miners in Kimberley discovered some bones that look like human remains,” said Kock in response to media enquiries. “The bones will be sent for forensic verification and the investigation continues.
“We are also awaiting the forensic results of the previous incident where human remains were discovered by the miners.
“Anyone with information can Call Detective Warrant Officer Kenneth Lamoen on 082 302 0407.”