Western Australia’s Gold Stealing Detection Unit says the recent downturn in the resources sector has led to an increase in the theft of mining equipment.
Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Savage said while the gold squad unit has been kept busy since it started investigating the theft of gold and gold mining equipment 106 years ago, the last few months had seen an increase in criminal activity.
Savage said thieves were targeting mines that have gone into care and maintenance and operations which had let go of fulltime security staff.
Savage warned companies to protect their assets, ABC reports.
"A lot of gold is still trapped within the workings of those operations and we find the criminal element will target those mines sites and in doing so in trying to extract the gold they actually cause a lot of damage to the mine sites themselves," he said.
Last year Australian Mining reported on a new invisible chemical being implemented by Fortescue Metals Group in an attempt to battle on-site theft.
Dubbed Chameleon Asset Protection, Meridian Services' Nina Hobson explained that Chameleon is "a liquid solution which, when dry, is invisible to the naked eye and virtually impossible to remove”.
"It will provide an exact fingerprint which will allow identification of any asset to a specific site or client; varying coloured fluorescent compounds will be detectable under UV light and analysis of samples will facilitate traceability of the item through a secure database,” she said.
An FMG spokesperson told The West that this technology will be a deterrent to theft.