The gold price might be booming but, according to the head of Western Australia’s Gold Stealing Detection Unit, it is drugs rather than price that drives the amount of theft in the industry.
The gold squad’s Detective Sergeant Bill Little said a combination of methamphetamine use and the years of job cuts throughout the broader mining sector was driving gold thefts throughout WA’s prolific goldfields.
“A lot of people are going on to mining company leases and removing ore, doing backyard production to try and extract the gold. There seems to be an increase in that going on, especially in the Goldfields area,” Detective Sergeant Little said.
“A lot of them seem to have the same thing in common, and that’s drug use. It’s hard to get enough money raised to get their next hit.”
The history of the Kalgoorlie-based gold squad dates back to 1907, when it was established as a result of a royal commission into the rampant gold thief occurring through the state’s goldfields.
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