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Explosion kills six in illegal Colombia gold mine

31 July 2017

Six security contractors working for Canadian mining company Continental Gold were killed in an explosion at an illegal gold mine in central Colombia on July 28. The blast took place in a mine in Antioquia province when the contractors surprised a group of illegal miners in a shaft they were inspecting, Continental said. One of the seven contractors survived.

Artist's impression of Buriticá mine - Image: Continental Gold
Artist's impression of Buriticá mine - Image: Continental Gold

In 2016, national and provincial authorities closed down most of the illegal mines near Continental’s flagship Buriticá gold mine but a few have continued to operate. The company said it was looking to the authorities to enforce the rule of law to "prevent this kind of tragic event from ever happening again".

The contractors “perished from apparent asphyxiation”, the company said, adding that it was working with government agencies to provide full support to the families of the victims.

Continental CEO Ari Sussman said: “It is shameful that this incident has tarnished the remarkable progress made in establishing peace in the municipality over the past 18 months. These efforts have been fully embraced by the local community, which has publicly voiced their strong preference for the benefits of legal versus illegal activities. The health and safety of our employees and contractors is our highest priority at Continental. The Company stands united with the community of Buriticá to bring modern mining that respects the rule of law, the environment and all of the law-abiding stakeholders in the area.”

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