HomeNewsBriefPeru, Colombia Join Forces to Tackle Illegal Gold Mining
BRIEF

Peru, Colombia Join Forces to Tackle Illegal Gold Mining

COLOMBIA / 7 MAY 2014 BY MIMI YAGOUB EN

Peru and Colombia are set to coordinate their first ever joint operation against illegal gold mining as Peru begins an all out assault against the multi-billion dollar trade.

The Peruvian high commissioner for Interdiction and Formalization of Mining, Daniel Urresti, will soon travel to Colombia to discuss the details of the operation with Colombian authorities, reported Agencia Andina.

The news comes shortly after 1,500 police troops raided the town of Huepetuhe in the Madre de Dios region on April 28, destroying $20 million worth of mining equipment, reported the Associated Press. According to the AP, this was the first operation of its kind since Peru passed a law banning all illegal mining in April 2014.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Mining

Peru’s recent interdiction efforts have also included targeting machinery by reducing gasoline supplies to Madre de Dios and destroying illegal gold refineries on the coast, though this has been met with fierce and often violent resistance from miners.

InSight Crime Analysis

Both Peru and Colombia are plagued by an illegal gold mining industry that wreaks havoc on the environment and often sees miners toiling under slave-like conditions. In Colombia the trade is believed to be worth more than drug trafficking to criminal groups in at least eight provinces, while in Peru government figures say it is worth around $3 billion a year and is estimated to account for 20 percent of the country’s annual gold exports.

The industry in Peru also drives a thriving human and sex trafficking industry as people are transported to remote lawless mining areas to work in the mines or provide services to those who do.

In Colombia, authorities have identified the key groups controlling illegal mining — notably the Urabeños and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In Peru, however, corruption and blurred lines between legal and illegal gold markets make it harder to pinpoint the culprits.

The isolated and inhospitable terrain in illegal mining hotspots such as Madre de Dios in Peru and Choco in Colombia severely hampers law enforcement operations targeting the trade. In Colombia, authorities have also struggled against corruption and the power of armed groups, and so far illegal mining operations have proven resistant to attempts to tackle it. Whether Peru can overcome these obstacles in its new assault remains to be seen, but both countries can certainly benefit from sharing their experiences.

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 13 FEB 2014

The emergence of allegations made by an incarcerated drug baron that he funded the political activities of Colombia's former President…

ELITES AND CRIME / 21 AUG 2014

Authorities in Peru have announced the removal of over 300 political candidates with criminal records from upcoming elections, a decision…

COLOMBIA / 8 AUG 2012

Six months after signing a partnership agreement aimed at improving rule of law in El Salvador, the US says the…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …