Illegal mining accounts for nearly one billion pesos ($600,000) in lost royalties and tax revenue in Colombia, reported business newspaper Portafolio Wednesday.
According to Cesar Diaz Guerrero, executive director of the Colombian Chamber of Mining, said that “illegal mining has grown to massive proportions in the last years, something that went beyond what the authorities and country had expected, and according to the Ombudsman there is illegal mining in the middle of the country.”
A representative of President Santos’ Agency for Social Action said that Illegal armed groups tend to benefit from illegal mining.
“We have found that in some areas like southern Choco and in some parts of Nariño, illegal armed groups are pushing those who work in illegal mining; and in doing so, are controlling said territories and generating displacements.”
The mining sector contributes 2.3% of Colombia’s gross domestic product and $852 million in royalties and another $908 million in taxes. Legal mining operations also create an estimated 300,000 jobs for Colombians.