Chinese mining company Zijin Mining suspended operations at its Buriticá gold mine in Colombia on 17 May following a bombing attack by illegal miners.
The attack resulted in the deaths of two mine workers while 14 more were wounded, including four police personnel.
In the wake of the incident, an emergency response plan has been activated and an urgent underground rescue effort has been launched. This includes bringing medical attention to the injured and managing the aftermath of the attack.
In a statement, Zijin Mining said: “We will actively collaborate with Colombian police on the investigation of the case so that the perpetrators, masterminds and financiers of the attack could be brought to justice as soon as possible.
“We also call on the Colombian authorities to step up efforts to combat violence associated with illegal mining, and take effective measures to protect the legitimate rights of companies operating in Colombia and the safety of people working at their operations.”
The Buriticá gold mine is operated by Continental Gold Limited Sucursal Colombia, a company in which Zijin owns 69.28%.
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The mine is located in the municipality of Buritica, Antioquia, where illegal miners frequently create roadblocks and attack legitimate mining operations, Reuters reported.
This area has thousands of illegal miners who work in deadly conditions in several informal or illegal tunnels in the region. Several such tunnels are claimed to be in close proximity to Zijin’s mines.
The Buriticá mine has a production capacity of 4,000 tonnes per day and has been operating since 2020. Technical upgradation and expansion at the site took place in 2021.
Zijin acquired the mine in 2019 from Canada’s Continental Gold despite security threats and attacks on mining personnel, Reuters added.
A few days ago, Zijin Mining reported an accident at one of its mines in Tibet.
The fall of a lift cage during shaft construction in the drainage system resulted in the incident, which broke contact with six miners.
Work was paused and a search and rescue operation was launched for the missing personnel.