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Latino Daily News

Sunday September 9, 2012

Colombian Police Shut Down Illegal Gold Mine

An illegal gold mine operating in a rural area in Huila, a province in southern Colombia, has been shut down, police said.

A mobile unit of the Huila police force seized a pump and pans used by gold miners.

A length of hose, a vacuum and filter, a metal shovel, three containers filled with diesel and other gear worth about 4 million pesos (some $2,217) was also seized at the site, police said.

Police found the mine in a rural area near the town of Tesalia through which the Yaguarcito River flows.

The equipment found at the site was turned over to the Alto Magdalena Regional Corporation, or CAM, in Neiva, the capital of Huila.

CAM representatives accompanied police on the raid targeting the illegal gold mining operation.

Illegal mining, according to police figures released in November 2011, accounts for about 50 percent of all activity in the industry in Colombia, causes extensive environmental damage and helps finance illegal armed groups.

Gold has become Colombia’s No. 3 export commodity, generating about $200 million in 2010, officials said.

Colombian officials have been targeting illegal mining, drug trafficking, corruption, arms trafficking and the financing of illegal armed groups as part of a larger crackdwon on money laundering, which is estimated to total about 20 trillion pesos ($11.1 billion).