Canadian mining company Braeval Mining Corporation has decided to shut down its mining operations in Colombia, citing “unfavorable markets” while having failed to release one of its employees who is held hostage by the ELN.
The Toronto based firm, which largely deals with gold mining, has claimed that it has made this decision based on poor economic conditions, although the Wall Street Journal speculated it is simply making a concession to rebel group ELN, which has demanded the company to return mining titles to local communities as a condition for employee Jernoc Wober to be released.
On January 18, Braeval’s local vice-president of expeditions, the 47-year old Wober, was abducted in the Bolivar Department in Colombia. The ELN had previously said that Mr Wober’s release would only be secured when Braeval’s mining operations ceased to function in the Bolivar department.
The ELN had accused the company of taking the mines from the local populace by negotiating a deal with Colombian authorities.
The Wall Street Journal and Colombian newspaper El Heraldo interpreted Braeval’s departure as a victory for the ELN, whose release demands have effectively been met by the company’s withdrawal from the area.
The Colombian government made the release of Wober a condition for the country’s largest rebel group to enter peace talks.