Colombian-Brazilian Task Force Destroys Illegal Gold-Mining Dredges in Amazon

The Colombian Aerospace Force (FAC), Colombia’s National Police, and Brazil’s Federal Police dealt a “resounding blow” to illegal gold mining in the Amazon during a multi-day raid on river dredges, the FAC said.

Over three days, the joint operation ‘Maloca Grande’ targeted 19 environmentally harmful vessels operating in the Pure and Purete rivers. Coordinated efforts involving the Colombian and Brazilian Police, Colombian Environmental Minister, Colombian Air Force, INTERPOL, and AMERIPOL led the charge, Colombian Police director William Rene Salamanca said.

The operation is estimated to have halted an illegal economy capable of extracting dozens of pounds of gold monthly.

“Each dredge produces 1,200 grams of gold per month, releasing 6,000 grams of mercury into the rivers, contaminating more than 3,600,000 liters of water that flow into communities and the ecosystem,” according to local news reports. Credit: Colombian Aerospace Force via Storyful