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The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum is launching a state-wide operation to crackdown on a spike in gold thefts from mining tenements.
According to the Amalgamated Prospectors and Leaseholders Association gold thefts have risen significantly and are costing the exploration business millions of dollars a year.
Department investigator Kevin Mancini told the ABC his team would be travelling regional WA to investigate the thefts.
He said improved communication between police, local government, and the department would be important in solving the problem.
He said the team would be travelling to Newman, Marble Bar, Port Hedland, and Karratha next week on its campaign.
2011’s strong gold price and its positive outlook for next year have spurred a rise in gold exploration.
Pilbara Prospectors Association president Kevin Danks told the North West Telegraph earlier this year a difficulty in acquiring land was starting to fuel tensions with gold explorers.
“What’s happening now is that it is very hard to get land – much of it is pegged nowadays,” he said.
“People are going onto leases and detecting on land owned by somebody.”
He said competition over land for gold exploring was in some cases getting “nasty”.
Image: Finders Keepers Gold