Illegal mining along Colombia’s Pacific coast and run by illegal armed groups FARC and Urabeños is causing serious environmental damage, according to a report released by the National Police Thursday.
The report confirmed the discovery and subsequent seizure of three illegal gold mines that had been operating in the western state of Choco which were believed to be created by the FARC, the country’s largest rebel group, and the Urabeños, the country’s largest neo-paramilitary group.
The sites were able to produce a combined total of 15 kilos of gold per month.
Along with deforestation, the report also confirmed that large amounts of mercury and cyanide — precursors of the extraction process — were found dumped in nearby rivers which were the water supply of numerous municipalities.
El Espectador reported the National Police Chief Radolfo Palomino as saying that “deforestation and the extinction of native fauna were a factor of an alliance between the FARC and the armed group Los Urabeños.”
Illegal mining has become a serious problem for Colombian authorities that considers the extraction of fossil fuels and minerals the “engine” of economic growth.
According to critics however, the Colombian government simplifies the situation and unjustly criminalizes artisan and small miners in order to benefit multinationals.
- Responsabilizan a las Farc de grave daño ambiental en Chocó (El Espectador)
- Descubierta alianza Farc – Bacrim contra el ecosistema (National Police)