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Illegal miners in South Africa face charges after emergency responders rescue them from shaft

A trapped illegal miner at a disused gold mine shaft near, Benoni, South Africa, is bought to the surface Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Debris trapped a group of miners who were working illegally in an abandoned mine in South Africa, but rescue workers cleared the mine shaft entrance and at least 11 miners were escorted to safety Some of the miners still below the surface in the gold mine shaft near Johannesburg appeared to be reluctant to emerge because of fears they would be arrested (AP Photo)

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A trapped illegal miner at a disused gold mine shaft near, Benoni, South Africa, is bought to the surface Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. Debris trapped a group of miners who were working illegally in an abandoned mine in South Africa, but rescue workers cleared the mine shaft entrance and at least 11 miners were escorted to safety Some of the miners still below the surface in the gold mine shaft near Johannesburg appeared to be reluctant to emerge because of fears they would be arrested (AP Photo)

JOHANNESBURG - South African police say 11 miners who were trapped by debris in an abandoned mine shaft and later rescued face charges of illegal mining.

The South African Press Association reported Monday that the miners are in police custody after their rescue a day earlier.

Emergency workers say other miners who were working illegally at the site near Johannesburg refused to come out of the shaft because they feared arrest. Local media say the trapped miners were discovered after police patrolling in the area heard shouting beneath a mine entrance that had been blocked by a large boulder.

Penalties for illegal mining include fines and prison time in some cases. Illegal mining is common in South Africa, a major producer of gold and platinum.

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