The Minerals Council of South Africa says police are not coping against powerful armed gangs that are attacking the country’s gold mines.

This follows a spate of armed robberies at various mines in the past few months.

According to the Minerals Council, there were 19 attacks on gold facilities last year in which more than 100 kilograms of gold was stolen.

In December, 15 suspected criminals armed with AK-47 and R6 assault rifles stormed the Goldfields smelting plant.

The Minerals Council’s Tebello Chabana has called on government to re-establish a dedicated unit to deal with safety at mines.

“In some of the instances when there are these attacks, they are in a military precision style and police were out-gunned. They were not able to take action against the armed insurgents.”

“We need the police to be better prepared. There used to be a dedicated unit within SAPS that was disbanded. We are calling on the special policing unit to be re-established in order to deal with crimes of this nature,” adds Chabana.