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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


Soma Gold resumes work at Colombia’s El Bagre mine after civil unrest in region settles

Soma suspended operations at the site over safety concerns on Monday

Soma Gold resumes work at Colombia's El Bagre mine after civil unrest in the region settles
Antioquia, Colombia. Photo by Datingscout via Unsplash

Vancouver’s Soma Gold Corp. (TSX-V: SOMA) (WKN: A2P4DU) (OTC: SMAGF) has chosen to resume work at its El Bagre gold mining complex following concerns about the safety of roadways leading to and from the site due to civil unrest in the region.

On Monday, the company temporarily shut down activity at the project because of protests from small alluvial miners opposed to the Colombian government’s decision to declare “total war” on illegal gold mining at the beginning of this month.

The declaration of total war from the country’s Defense Minister Ivan Velasquez on March 1 caused immediate backlash from the small-scale miners that pull gold from creeks and streams in the Antioquia region where Soma’s project is located.

Riots and violence have ensued there in recent days and six people or more were injured by bullets after an attack on a local police station last Friday, according to the publication Colombia Reports.

The protests have also caused a shortage of food and medicine for thousands of people in the country’s Antioquia and Cordoba regions due to road blockades. Alluvial miners took to mining the streets on Monday as part of the strike.

Read more: NevGold CEO inks open letter reassuring shareholders despite recent upheavals

Read more: NevGold to hit the ground running at Limousine Butte in 2023: Caesars Report

The Colombian government’s justification for its action against illegal gold mining is the vast environmental problems it causes, the worst of which is mercury contamination in waterways.

The government also wants to stop criminal groups such as the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia (AGC), a paramilitary group involved in the drug trade, from generating revenue through illegal gold operations that fund their activities.

Environmental damage caused by illegal gold mining. Photo via Colombia’s governor’s office

The El Bagre mining complex has produced approximately 150,000 ounces of gold since 2010 and employs about 650 workers.

“Employees are gradually returning to work and the mining and milling operations will resume at the earliest convenience,” said Soma on Wednesday in a news release.

Soma’s stock price rose by 8.82 per cent today to $0.37 on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Read more: NevGold submits exploration and expansion plans for gold project in Nevada

Read more: NevGold Corp. gets exploration notice approval from Bureau of Land Management

According to planetGOLD, an environmental organization established by the United Nations, approximately 350,000 Colombians rely on small-scale gold mining for their livelihood; 46 per cent of the country’s gold is produced by artisanal miners; and 87 per cent of Colombia’s gold is produced by informal miners, i.e. prospectors that don’t adhere to legal regulations.


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