A gold refinery in Sinaloa state, western Mexico, has been robbed of more than US $8.5 million (AUS $11.05 million) gold concentrate.

The Canadian based McEwen Mining Incorporated said the theft occurred on Tuesday at the number 1 El Gallo mine. More than 900 kilograms of gold-bearing concentrate was somehow whisked away. The concentrate contained approximately 200kg of pure gold.

The company believe employees, either current or former, to be behind the heist.

“It was premeditated, well planned and organised,” said Gerard Vargas Landero, Sinaloa’s Minister for the Interior. “It (the robbery) had to be done by someone who knows the inside movements … we believe we can solve this very quickly.”

The Canadian mining firm have remained tight-lipped, saying only that no one was injured, but that the robbers were armed. They did , however, say that their current insurance policies will not be enough to cover the losses.

General Moises Melo Garcia, the State Director of Security, said, “We’re generating a strategy to guarantee the safety of employers in the industry.”

He went on to tell reporters that fuel from the nearby pipelines of Petroleos Mexicanos or Pemex (the state-run oil company) are the usual targets of criminal gangs. This is the first time anyone has stolen from a mine.

There was, however, an attack at the Media Luna mining company, in the southern state of Guerrero, in February of this year. Several employees of the company were kidnapped by a drug cartel and held for ransom.

The employees were all later released. Outraged police, however, shut down the mine (owned by Canadian company Torex Gold Resources) because of lack of adequate security.

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