How an abandoned mine dump became a crime scene

Looming like a ghostly white mountain over Krugersdorp and Randfontein on the West Rand, the North Sands dump was at one point reputed to be the highest man-made sand dump in the world, storing the waste from historic gold mining.

Over the years, most of its hazardous bulk has blown away because of the lack of dust management. “It was reported that traces of the sand from North Sands and the dumps that surround it have reached as far as Tasmania, Australia,” said Mariette Liefferink, the chief executive of the non-profit Federation for a Sustainable Environment. “That shows you how this fine particulate matter can travel long distances.” The dust particles from these types of mines are known to be harmful to people.

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