The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), long known for abductions, narcotrafficking, and open combat with Colombian national security forces, are increasingly turning to gold mining as a source of income, according to a report from political risk firm Exclusive Analysis. Joining the FARC forces are a new narcotrafficking grouping referred to as 'Bacrim.' Speaking for Exclusive Analysis, Carlos Caicedo said in a statement, “FARC and drug gang involvement in gold mining increases extortion and property damage risks, particularly in Antioquia and Putumayo.”
“Mining income has overtaken that from drug trafficking for FARC rebels in some provinces. The scant security force presence in some of these remote areas permits the FARC and Bacrims to latch on to this and often fight each other for the right to extort,” Caicedo continued. “It is a similar situation in Cauca, Chocó and Valle Del Cauca departments. There is also evidence of armed groups controlling coltan and tungsten operations in the eastern provinces of Vichada and Guainía,” he said. Coltan and tungsten are essential to industries such as specialized steel-making and electronics. The mining of coltan, which is a shortened form for columbite–tantalite, has fueled violence in other parts of the world, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The rail line between the Cerrejón coal mine in La Guajira and its Caribbean port tends to be bombed by the FARC several times a year. Mining and power equipment at the site has also been targeted,” according to Caicedo.
In Colombia, the regional differentiation of risk is both acute and important. Foresight Location Analytics, pictured left, is a new mapping application available as part of the Foresight Suite that visualises risk at a resolution of 500 square metres, enabling users to differentiate violent risks worldwide to user-defined assets uploaded into the system (identified here as grey dots).
Exclusive Analysis Ltd, was recently acquired by IHS (NYSE: IHS). Based in London, it is a specialist intelligence company that forecasts commercially relevant political and violent risks worldwide. IHS is based in Englewood, Colorado.