Saturday, 29 June 2013

Gold still better than cocaine : Colombian Police

Colombian armed groups are reaping profits from illegal gold mining that are five times greater than returns from cocaine, according to Colonel Hector Paez, acting director of the country’s rural police division.

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.