The head state revealed the plan as part of an initiative intended to decrease the amount of approved mining titles in the country and put an end to illegal mining.
“In these zones, not just any person can come and claim a mining title—this has the objective of having control over these zones so that they do not become a [free for all] of titles where there is corruption, bad administration and lack of respect for the environment,” said Santos.
In April Colombia’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Juan Carlos Restrepo, warned that licenses for legal mining were granted far too easily, claiming that more than half of the country’s livestock and agricultural land was covered by mining licenses and permits, threatening the development of those sectors.
Santos added that with this initiative the government hopes to stop illegal armed groups from benefitting from illicit mining, which has become a lucrative source of income for several illegal armed groups.
President Santos has referred to illegal mining as “a cancer that must be removed,” and as a “criminal practice that has not only generated pressures and extortion for legal miners, but that has also caused disastrous damage to our environment.”