Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon made the claim while filing a motion to take action against the illegal operations.
The minister asserted that authorities will not allow illegal armed groups continue to exploit natural resources in the country to continue to fund their organizations.
Justice minister Ruth Stella Correa suggested a project be set up to discover illegal mines and destroy them and the machinery used on site, as well as charging the head of the mine will such an offense, claiming “It is established that illegal mining is a crime regardless of the severity of the damage to the environment,”
In recent months the national police claimed to have intervened with 960 mines, suspending action in 136 of them resulting in the capture of 3,200 miners.
The offensive against illegal miners is opposed by small and medium miners’ organizations and Colombia’s opposition party Polo Democratico who claim that the government is persecuting informal miners “as if they were criminals, to clear their territories for the multinational mining companies.”
Illegal armed groups have taken some control over the informal mining business, renting machinery to miners and charging the miners protection money.