Illegal gold mines, with important consequences on the environment, replaced cultivation of coca as the main source of income for Colombian mafia. Millions of people were driven from their homes as a result.
Colombian mafia is looking for new ways to increase profits. In 8 of the Colombian provinces illegal gold mines replaced coca plantations as the main source of income. Mines bring a higher return given that gold prices rose to very high levels in recent years.
Investments made by the mafia are considerable. Bribing local authorities and employees of various companies are only part of the investment. Perfectly legal companies collaborating on new Colombian illegal enterprise, either voluntarily or as a result of threats.
“Illegal mining is a new drug trafficking,” said Colombian environment minister. “Both left-wing guerrillas and right-wing ones finance their operations using this new form of income.”
Most affected by this situation are natives of the respective territories. “Paradoxically, those regions that are richer than others as raw materials are more affected by poverty and expulsions,” said Colombian indigenous representative.
In the first months of this year, nearly 9,000 indigenous were expelled from their territory – as a direct result of mining activities in those areas.