Pretoria - Gauteng police uncovered a refinery with gold-bearing material with an estimated value of R3 million illegally operating in Zuurbekom, Westonaria.
“Approximately 1260 tons of gold-bearing material with an estimated value of R3m was found along with two generators, nearly 200kg of loaded carbon and a cellphone,” said Gauteng Hawks spokesperson, Colonel Philani Nkwalase.
The operation was executed by an integrated team led by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) in collaboration with the Tactical Response Team (TRT) and various divisions.
Nkwalase said the operation resulted in the arrest of a 22-year-old suspect.
He said the suspect was arrested on Tuesday, and all exhibits were seized for further investigation.
Nkwalase added that the suspect was a foreign national without proper documentation.
He will also be charged with contravening the Immigration Act.
In another similar incident, Limpopo police arrested three foreign nationals allegedly involved in illegal mining.
They were arrested at the Zandrivier mine in Bergenek, outside Polokwane, earlier in May.
Police spokesperson Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said during the arrest, police seized illegal mining equipment as well as a generator and solar panels.
“Police also seized 54 bags containing gold-bearing materials and explosives, comprising 10 blasting cartridges, a three-piece detonating cord, and five detonating fuses.”
The suspects, two Mozambicans aged 31 and 45 and a 25-year-old Zimbabwean national, are facing charges of illegal mining, possession of explosives and contravention of the Immigration Act.