The Minerals Council of South Africa has called on the government to urgently intervene and ensure security in the mining industry. This follows the killing of a security guard during an armed robbery at the Harmony Goldplant west of Johannesburg, on Friday.

The Council says high gold prices are making processing plants a target for criminals. There have been nine attacks on the gold industry in the past year, in which employees and security personnel have been held hostage, assaulted, and in two cases killed.

The Council’s CEO Roger Baxter has called on Police Minister Bheki Cele and Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to re-establish a special policing unit to oversee security in the sector, saying the attacks are threatening the country’s investment and economic prospects.