When the makers of condom conceived the idea, 'safe sex' was their major focus and concern, but the human mind can concoct a lot of absurd things.

The same condom they have sex with has now become a decoy for illegal miners who want to avoid arrest.

Gold mining happens in South Africa, but some illegal miners are also engaging in the mining business, smuggling raw gold with condoms.

Removing the gold from the mines to other places where they can sell them is difficult because of security operatives control.

Smuggling is costing the industry $1.5 billion a year, the police told parliament on Friday.

Illegal mining has plagued South Africa’s mining sector for decades, and extends from small time pilfering to global organised crime networks.

The crime costs the industry and government an estimated 20 billion rand ($1.5 billion) a year in lost sales, taxes and royalties, the Chamber of Mines, an industry body, says.

“They are ingesting the amalgam concealed in condoms and this is done for two principle reasons.

“One is to be able to bypass mine security and the other is also to prevent being robbed by opposing groups,” Brig. Ebrahim Kadwa, a commander in South Africa’s Hawks organised crime unit, said, showing parliament slides of gold-filled condoms in miners’ x-rays.

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Potentially toxic clumps of mercury and gold concentrate can be refined to extract gold once passed through the body.

Illegal mining in South Africa involves a complex criminal web that extends from desperate unemployed workers, many from neighboring countries, to gun-toting gang bosses and front companies exporting refined products to global markets.