BEIJING, May 19 (TiPost) — The bloody attack on the gold mine, located in Antioquia province in northwest Colombia was not totally unexpected. Back in March, the Chinese Embassy in Colombia cautioned local Chinese nationals to strengthen security precautions.
On Wednesday afternoon, local time, the Buritica gold mine of Continental Gold, Zijin Mining’s holding subsidiary, was hit by a bombing attack, causing 2 deaths and 14 injuries, including 4 members of Colombia’s police.
Zijin Mining said on Friday morning that the initial investigation suggested that the attack was the work of an illegal local mining group. Continental Gold has activated the emergency response plans and launched the underground rescue effort. The company also called on Colombian authorities to step up efforts to crack down on illegal mining-related violence and effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests and personal safety of companies investing in Colombia.
The Buritica gold mine is located in the Antioquia in northwest Colombia. The local Cauca belt, which is rich in copper and gold, is plagued by security problems. The illegal mining activities, organized in part by criminal gang the Clan del Golfo, worsen the security of surrounding communities and hinder Zijin’s production, a Reuters investigation found in 2021.
The Chinese Embassy in Colombia also issued an advisory on March 21 that the recent frequent activities of local anti-government armed groups and criminal gangs in some areas of Colombia have led to a surge in violent crimes. In addition, there was a coal mine explosion in Cundinamarca province, multiple earthquakes in Colombia and neighboring countries as well as possible landslides and other secondary disasters caused by the return of the rainy season. The overall security situation was facing serious challenges and Chinese citizens needed to strengthen their security precautions.
As a world-class high-grade large-scale gold mine with a total construction investment of US$610 million, the Buritica gold mine boasts 353 tons of gold in proven reserves, with an average grade of 9.3 grams per ton. In December 2019, Zijin announced the acquisition of 100% of Continental Gold with C$1.33 billion. Currently, the company holds 69.3% shares, making it the largest shareholder of Continental Gold, whose core asset is the Buritica Gold Mine.
When the gold mine was put into operation in October 2020, Colombian President Ivan Duque attended the ceremony and said that the Buritica gold mine was the most important project in the history of Colombian gold investment and a new effort to invest strategically in the Colombian mining industry and upgrade the industrial model.
Zijin Mining Chairman Chen Jinghe also noted that it was Zijin’s strategic decision to invest in Colombia and that the company would increase the investment in geological exploration in this area, so as to provide sufficient resources for the project expansion.
The underground mining operations of the Vulitika may be affected by the incident, the parent company noted. By the end of 2022, Continental Gold had total assets of 8.162 billion yuan, revenues of 2.995 billion yuan and net profits of 211 million yuan, accounting for 2.67% of Zijin’s total assets, 1.11% of the total revenues and 0.85% of the total net profits in the period, respectively.
Zijin Mining’s share price closed at 10.96 yuan on Friday, down 1.26% from the previous day.