Continental Gold Inc. (TSX: CNL) (OTCQX: CGOOF) announced today that national and regional police authorities in Buriticá, Antioquia launched a significant operation to evict illegal miners from unsafe areas near the company’s Veta Sur operations in the town of Buriticá during the weekend. Minminas, Colombia’s National Mining Agency has, according to Continental Gold, ordered local authorities, with the participation of Continental as the legal title holder in the area, to formally close down those illegal operations as a preventative measure in light of the danger from potential landslides and the collapsing of tunnels in areas of illegal mining activity. A Security Council, led by the Buriticá Major and the regional police commander, is in the process of issuing the corresponding eviction orders to remove the miners from several illegal mines in the area. So far miners have been leaving their tunnels peacefully.
Illegal mining has been a leading source of pollution, environmental contamination, public health issues, human trafficking, and abuses by illegal mafias in Colombia and elsewhere in the world where it takes place. In Colombia, historically mafias and rebel insurgents have used illegal mining to fund operations, often forcing locals to participate against their will, or without pay.
“Illegal mining is endemic to areas with high-grade gold deposits in Colombia, as it has been throughout history elsewhere in the world. The Colombian government has declared “war on criminal mining” and is deploying its resources to control the activity in various parts of the country. Continental works in very close coordination with the authorities in its area of influence in that regard, as well as protecting our people and assets. Despite the regional emergency of this situation, we think it is a positive sign of the direction of the joint work between the Colombian government and the legitimate owners of titles, especially where projects of national strategic interest, such as Continental’s Buriticá Project, are being developed and operated”, said Leon Teicher, Executive Chairman of the Board.