Colombia’s Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Juan Caros Restrepo has appealed to authorities to increase controls on illegal mining, reported news website La Vanguardia Monday.
Restrepo claimed more surveillance was needed to combat illegal mining which he said could affect the country’s ecosystem and agricultural production.
“It is unacceptable that the miner leaves only a hole in the ground and a pile of dirt,” he said, adding “what is bad is not the exploitation of resources but doing so irresponsibly.”
He also warned that licenses for legal mining were granted far too easily. More than half of the country’s livestock and agricultural land is covered by mining licenses and permits, which threaten the development of those sectors.
As such Restrepo said environmental police needed to ensure miners replaced the land’s topsoil at each extraction site.
The minister asserted the development of mining was necessary for Colombia’s economic development but that it should be done “without trampling on other sectors.”
“It must be reponsible mining that cares for the ecosystem and does not conflict with food production,” he said.