goldbarsMining Weekly reports that the recovery in gold prices has coincided with, and is being tainted by, a surge in so-called ‘gold raids’.  

These are characterised by heavily armed intruders targeting mining companies and smelt houses, holding staff hostage and making off with concentrate and smelted gold.  According to Charmane Russell, spokesperson for the Minerals Council SA (MCSA – previously called the Chamber of Mines), the attacks are largely driven by organised criminal groups.  But Russell noted that, while crime syndicates were known to drive illegal mining, there was not any conclusive evidence yet to suggest that the same perpetrators were connected in any way to the gold raids.  Armed robberies at gold plants are not particularly novel, but the problem has seemingly escalated, with the criminals having become more brazen.  The MCSA is aware of 19 armed attacks on gold facilities in 2019, during which more than 100 kg of gold was stolen, compared with ten attacks in 2018.  Another facet of these attacks is that they are often characterised by violence.  “These incidents are almost always associated with intimidation and physical abuse of staff and contractors, and have also included hostage taking,” Russell indicated.  Two people were fatally injured in two separate incidents in 2019.  Furthermore, attacks result in additional costs in terms of lost workdays, as well as damaged plants and equipment.  “These crimes are hurting South Africa’s investment and economic prospects, and urgent action is required,” warned Russell.

Read the full original of the report in the above regard at Engineering News


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