Gangs of thieves steal millions from Aussie mines

Organized criminal groups have stolen millions of dollars in heavy equipment from mines in the Australian state of Queensland during just the past twelve months according to a new report released by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

The report by CMC notes that the theft of mining equipment has become an increasingly acute problem for the mineral-rich tropical state following the growth of its resources sector.

The report notes that criminal groups consider mining companies to be "soft targets" due to poor security measures, with evidence of efforts by criminals to infiltrate the industry in order to obtain information on access to sites.

Queensland is also a special area of focus for heavy equipment thefts due to the perception that it is easier to transport stolen equipment from the state to either overseas markets or other states in Australia.

Heavy equipment thefts rose from 132 in 2007 to 231 in 2011, representing an increase of around 75%, with major hotspots being regional centres such as Toowoomba, Dalby, Mackay and Rockhampton.