Government mining officials closed 55 mines for either being illegal or unsafe to operate reported newspaper El Espectador Friday.
The Ministry of Mining and Energy along with mining authorities Ingeominas and ARP Positiva, conducted investigations of 175 mining titles totalling 524 mines in the departments of Cundinamarca, Boyaca and Norte de Santander.
The inspections found that 73% of the mines were operating with inadaquate conditions while 21% of the inspected mines recieved adaquate safety ratings. Six percent of the mines inspected were reported as inactive.
Mining officials served 303 suspensions and 21 mines were closed for illegally extracting minerals.
The mining investigations were conducted between February 9 and May 27.
The government has been increasing mine inspections since January, when a methane explosion killed 21 coal miners. In February the government shut down 20 mines for operating under dangerous conditions.
Mining and Energy Minister Carlos Rodado Noriega explained that the inspections of Colombian mines do not aim to close down the mining industry but rather to save lives.