Free State police have arrested seven suspects for possession of gold-bearing materials. Picture: SAPS

Welkom - Seven people have been arrested for possessing gold-bearing materials such as gas bottles, scales, gold and platinum tester, cutting torches, plastic basins, gold burning pots and "scandunga" in the mining town of Welkom in Free State province, police said on Thursday.

Welkom cluster commander Major-General Lerato Molale said police on Tuesday went to a house in Riebeeckstad where a 42-year-old suspect was apprehended.

In a continued police operation aimed at clamping on illicit mining in Goldfields by so-called "zama-zamas" five suspects were also arrested for being in possession of gold-bearing material at another house on Cilliers Street, Dagbreek, while a 36-year-old was picked up at a residence on Constantia Street in Thabong.

Picture: SAPS

Gold-bearing material was also found at the last search conducted in Shekeshe Street in Thabong. 

Molale said all suspects, whose ages range from 29 to 45, would soon appear before the Welkom Magistrate's Court. 

Picture: SAPS

"We will continue hitting hard on illegal mining in Goldfields thus these arrests and seizures of gold bearing material. I am proud of these members involved in this joint operation who have done excellent work," Molale said.

African News Agency/ANA