Only 21% of the land used for gold mining in Colombia operated legally in 2022, the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said in its annual report.
According to the UNODC, 94,733 hectares were used for gold mining throughout Colombia last year.
This is almost 4% less than the 98,567 hectares that were registered in 2021.
Land used for Illegal gold mining did increase to 69,123 hectares in 2022, which is an increase of 8% compared to the year before.
This illegal mining mainly took place in the provinces of Choco, Antioquia and Nariño, said the UNODC.
Some 40% of the land used for illegal mining was located in Choco, one of Colombia’s poorest provinces.
The UNODC also noted that illegal gold mining often coincides with the cultivation of coca, the base ingredient for cocaine.
Of the 10 municipalities with the largest plots of land used for illegal gold mining, eight were significant coca producers.
Think tank Indepaz, which monitors violence in Colombia, registered significant activity by illegal armed groups in all of these municipalities.
The Comptroller General’s Office said in March that an estimated 85% of Colombia’s gold exports had been mined illegally.
Government attempts to combat illegal mining in Antioquia led to violent protests in the northeast of Antioquia earlier this year.
Source : Colombia Reports