Governor Says Largest Drug Cartel Extracting Gold in Colombian Protected Area

Governor Juvenor Diaz of Santander, a department found in the central-northern part of Colombia, has decried the illegal mining activities conducted in his area by the country’s largest criminal gang called the Gulf Clan. This drug cartel also goes by the name EGC, or Gaitanista Army of Colombia.

The neoparamilitary outfit came into being after another cartel, the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, was demobilized. The group’s interest in the Santurban moor in Santander is focused on controlling the illicit gold mining that takes place in the area. Diaz, a politician who retired after serving as a general in the country’s military, says he is concerned that the cartel isn’t only taking control of the moor but also actively polluting the area’s water sources.

When local media interviewed him, Diaz revealed that he had requested that the National Army establish its presence within the area. He added that the next task was to conduct awareness campaigns aimed at driving locals to immediately report any unusual activities, given that as gangs establish themselves, they often violently take control of the mines and not only kill people but also cause families to flee their homes. This displacement allows the cartels to engage in illicit mining activities within the abandoned areas.

The governor vowed to protect the moor, which is locally referred to as paramo in Spanish. Mining has been outlawed in the moor since 2011.

Diaz reaffirmed his determination to protect paramo, a region teeming with subalpine forests and is located just beneath the permanent snowline. It is an area where water is naturally held during the rainy season and then released once dry conditions set in. He asserted that he stands by the promise he made when standing for office, which is to protect the environment and the well-being of the people in the area.

The moor surrounds a mining project that was awarded to the Abu Dhabi government through a company called Minesa. The mining project came to a standstill in 2020 after Colombian authorities found many loopholes in the environmental impact assessment as well as the additional documentation that was provided during the licensing process.

Another setback that stalled the mining project of the Abu Dhabi company was disagreement over the borders of the mining area. The office of the ombudsman as well as the country’s attorney general said insufficient consultations with locals had been done, so there was a risk that water sources and the environment could be endangered once mining commences.

That impasse has created room for illegal small-scale mining to thrive, and the cartels want in on this lucrative activity.

The drawbacks that come from allowing gold from such illegal mining activity to enter the world market makes a strong case for stamping out such criminal actors from the trade and letting only licensed entities such as GEMXX Corp. (OTC: GEMZ) to conduct gold mining and processing activities.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to GEMXX Corp. (OTC: GEMZ) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/GEMZ

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