Colombia begins crackdown on illegal mining
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Colombia begins crackdown on illegal mining

Around 1.4 million hectares across Colombia are now free of illegal mining activities, daily El Tiempo reports.

The report coincides with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos revealing plans to invest around $2.5 million in special military units set to combat illegal mining across the country.

Illegal mining accounts for around 7 billion pesos ($2.383 million) annually.

It is present in 233 municipalities across Colombia, polluting 19 rivers and resulting in 16,784 hectares of primary forest during 2014 alone, according to Environment Ministry estimates.

Joint efforts

Both Peru and Colombia’s governments are now looking to tackle the problem in border areas between the two countries.

“Both us Colombians and Peruvians are aware that the problem in the Putumayo region is serious. When Colombia discovers a dredge, this dredge then passes into the other side of the river, it is placed under Peruvian control, out of Colombian hands, and vice versa.” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal a spokesperson for the Environment Ministry (Minam) said.

Mining and illegal coca crop plantations on the Colombia, Peru and Brazil borders are a severe problem in and around Leticia, deep in the heart of Colombia’s Amazon.

Both countries have signed into a binational agreement to crack down on the spread of mining activities, expanding on a previous agreement which Peru and Colombia signed into in 2014.

See also:

Amazon’s indigenous people are prepared to fight against mining projects

Will Colombia’s peace talks aid environmental issues?

“Sí a la vida, no a la mina”: Community resistance in Colombia’s coal mining country

Google satellite imagery could stop Amazon deforestation