Millions of ounces of unmined gold are still believed to lie below the surface, fuelling a booming – but frequently deadly – illicit industry

As he prepares to descend an abandoned mineshaft in the Johannesburg suburb of Roodepoort, Fix, a sinewy informal goldminer from Lesotho, recounts stories of subterranean gun battles and unearthing the scattered bones of those who came before him.

“This is very dangerous work,” he says, draining a quart of beer for courage. “But there’s a lot of money down there.”

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