Six illegal miners were killed, eight were injured, and 87 others arrested following a shootout with the Hawks on Wednesday.
The members of the Special Task Force, assisted by the Hawks Organised Crime Unit, received a tip-off about illegal mining activities taking place in Orkney on Wednesday night.
According to Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mohale, when the Hawks, Task Force, National Intervention Unit, District Crime Combatting Unit, NW Airwing, Explosives Unit, Bidvest Protea Coin Security and Local Criminal Record Centre descended on the identified shaft, they were met with gunfire.
"The team returned fire wherein eight suspects were wounded and six fatally, while eighty-seven were arrested. One member of team was wounded," Mohale said.
The wounded were taken to hospital under police guard.
Two minibuses, illegal mining paraphernalia, gold bearing material, 11 illegal firearms (three shotguns, three rifles, four pistols and one revolver) and bags of food were confiscated from the scene.
Mohale said those arrested would appear in the Orkney Magistrate's Court on Monday, 25 October.
They face charges of attempted murder, illegal possession of gold, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, illegal possession of prohibited firearms, theft and conspiracy to commit an offence.