HomeNewsBriefWith Eye on Illegal Mining, Colombia Creates Environmental Crime Office
BRIEF

With Eye on Illegal Mining, Colombia Creates Environmental Crime Office

COLOMBIA / 4 JAN 2012 BY ELYSSA PACHICO EN

Colombia created a prosecutor's office which will deal exclusively with environmental crime. One significant question is how much energy the new office will put into investigating unlicensed mining, a source of money for the FARC and BACRIMs.

The unit will consist of 22 attorneys trained in environmental law, according to El Espectador. The office will reportedly prioritize investigations related to environmental contamination, invasive use of protected land, and unlicensed exploitation of resources.

This may prove particularly significant for Colombia's population of traditional and artesanal miners, many of whom do not have the legal paperwork to prove their right to work certain mines.

In mineral-rich departments like Antioquia and Cauca, unlicensed mines frequently must pay extortion taxes to armed groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In Antioquia, miners told InSight Crime that the typical fee is between one and three million pesos (about $526 to $1,500) for each excavator which enters the FARC's territory.

In other parts of the country, armed gangs may tax the amount of gold actually produced per miner. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Colombia is currently experiencing a mining "boom." Some 40 percent of its territory has seen concessions handed out to, or solicited by, multinationals in the mining or energy sector. The creation of an office dedicated to prosecuting environmental crime may be partly intended to show investors that Colombia is serious about enforcing environmental standards.

The main development to look out for is how much time the prosecutorial office actually spends working on cases related to unlicensed mining. The Colombian government cracked down on the practice in 2011, citing security concerns because many unlicensed mines pay extortion taxes to the FARC. Mining activists have argued that the government is trying to edge out traditional mining to encourage the entry of multinational companies. 

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COCAINE / 10 DEC 2020

The killing of an Indigenous leader in Bahia Solano, on Colombia’s Pacific Coast, adds to mounting violence that has…

COCAINE / 12 OCT 2020

A new major report about drug trafficking and consumption in Europe has provided key insights into how a record production…

COCA / 22 DEC 2020

President-elect Joe Biden wants to reset US-Latin American relations, but the Trump administration’s approach may leave scars.

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…