Colombia’s Informal Gold Miners Feel the Heat From All Sides

Women pan for gold along the Dagua River, Zaragoza, Colombia, July 8, 2009 (AP photo by Christian Escobar Mora).
Women pan for gold along the Dagua River, Zaragoza, Colombia, July 8, 2009 (AP photo by Christian Escobar Mora).

The threats arrived in October by Whatsapp messages and pamphlets that were circulated around the northern Colombian town of Segovia. They placed a death sentence on every one of the 1,600 workers of Grupo Damasa, the business that operates the town’s richest gold mines, if the mining company did not pay a gold “tax.” “Stop working or we will stop you. We’re not playing,” they read. Within two months, four of the company’s miners were dead; two more had been shot; and one of its processing mills was attacked with a grenade. But still, Grupo Damasa’s owner would not pay […]

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