| Cocaine typically takes six months to produce and requires considerable knowledge, while an illegal mining operation in the Colombian jungle can extract two kilograms of gold a week, Paez said in a June 19 interview in Bogota. |
“Illegal mining has risen in this country” he said. “They are earning more money from gold than cocaine or kidnappings.”
| Gold, which slumped below $1,300 an ounce for the first time since September 2010 in New York yesterday, has become Colombia’s biggest export after oil and coal. A kilogram of cocaine can sell for about 5 million pesos ($2,570) in the Colombian jungle while a kilogram of gold can fetch 19 times that, or similar to global market prices, Paez said.|
The precious metal is also relatively easy to legalize while cocaine remains banned. “As soon as it’s excavated and away from the mine it’s legal,” said Paez.