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Illegal Gold Mining in Colombia Is Destroying the Rainforest

16 Nov 2016

This story was originally published on Newsweek and supported by SKUP, the Norwegian Foundation for a Free and Investigative Press and GRID-Arendal's Investigative Environmental Journalism Grants programme.

Illegal gold mining in Colombia's Chocó province, despite crackdowns by the government, is causing environmental destruction and harming the local population. Armed groups control much of the illegal gold trade, extorting and forcibly recruiting locals, and polluting waterways with mercury. This has led to health problems and environmental damage. The armed groups often go unpunished, and the crackdowns primarily target equipment, not those funding the illegal mining. The situation is unlikely to improve even if a peace deal is reached with leftist militants, as other armed groups are expected to continue dominating the trade.

About the author

Bram Ebus is a freelance journalist, investigator and photographer from the Netherlands based in Bogotá, Colombia. He hold a Master’s degree in Global Criminology and has done research for think tanks and NGOs. Ebus has ample field experience in Latin America and has a strong focus on socio-environmental conflicts. As a journalist he had his work published in English, Dutch and Spanish. His writing has appeared in The Guardian, Miami Herald, Newsweek, Al Jazeera, Mongabay, Vice News and others.

Status: Completed

Type: Investigative Journalism Grants

Author: Bram Ebus

Year of publication: 2016

Publisher: Newsweek

Tags: Investigative Environmental Journalism

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