Illegal mining activities have forced Rand Uranium to step up security at its underground mining operation to safeguard the mine from vandalism and damage.

In recent weeks, several areas of the company’s underground mining operations were vandalised with certain parts being deemed unsafe for workers to enter, according to a report on Fox Business.

The company installed R6m ($801,969)-worth of biometric access control systems on every access point to shafts to ensure only legal workers could gain entry.

An additional R200,000 ($26,732) a month is being allocated for other security operations.

The company also announced a ban on food and liquids underground, as illegal miners can spend months underground at the mine, according to reports.

Nearly 650 illegal miners have been arrested in 2009 in a bid to curtail unlawful activities.

Harmony Gold Mining holds a 40% stake in Rand Uranium, while a consortium of Pamodzi Resource Fund, First Reserve Corporation and AMCI Capital holds a 60% stake.

Over the past few years, the South African mining sector has been plagued by illegal mining activities.