Hawks seize R3-million gold material at illegal gold refinery

-Edited by Bev Mortimer- The South African Hawks seized R3-million worth of gold bearing material  at an illegal gold refinery in Zuurbekom, Westonaria area of Gauteng province in South Africa.

This is the second illegal gold refinery discovered this year following the arrest of three suspects for allegedly operating an illegal gold refinery in Mpumalanga province in February.

At a fully operational gold refinery laboratory yesterday  the Hawks and the law enforcement team discovered and confiscated 1260 tons of gold bearing material, two generators, nearly two hundred (200) kg of loaded carbon and a cell phone.

The SAPS says this intelligence-driven operation resulted ion the arrest of 25 year-old foreigner. The suspect, a foreign national, with no ID documentation on him was arrested on charges of contravention of Precious Metals Act 37 of 2005 and operating an illegal gold refinery.

He may face an additional charges of contravening the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 .  All property at the refinery were seized for further investigation.

The operation was executed by an integrated team led by the Hawks in collaboration with Tactical Response Team (TRT), Forensic division of the South African Police Service in West Rand, officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs as well as the Sibanye Stillwater’s Asset Protection Services.

The suspect is expected to appear in the Westonaria Magistrates Court tomorrow, 18 May.

The Hawks Provincial Head in Gauteng, Major General Ebrahim Kadwa, lauded the sterling work of the combined team, and said:  it was clear the suspect was not working alone. “Our work is cut out and no stone will be left unturned.”


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