17 dead after gas leak at Boksburg Squatter Camp

A gas cylinder containing nitrous oxide, improperly stored at the Angelo Squatter camp outside of Boksburg has taken the lives of 17 individuals, including children.

The nitrous oxide canister is likely tied to illegal mining activity in the area.

Illegal mining, mostly for gold, has remained rife in the country of South Africa costing millions of dollars each year.

Groups known as “Zama Zamas,” make up of illegal miners who swarm disused gold mines of Johannesburg.

These gold mines are disused for several reasons, this can be due to the mine becoming structurally unstable, natural resources being sufficiently depleted or trapped water and gas within the mine itself causing an unsafe environment for workers.

Keeping track of these disused mines proves a priority for African Fire & Safety teams, both those around Boksburg and the continent as a whole.

However, this can be exceptionally difficult, as safety teams cannot possibly be monitoring these spaces at all times.

Last month, the country’s Department of Mineral and energy resources suspected around 31 illegal miners had been trapped and died in a ventilation shaft in Africa’s Free State province.

With the problem becoming ever-increasing, pressure is placed on the African Government to determine innovative ways of properly sealing off disused mines and monitoring those that go into them.

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