Jihlava, South Moravia, Feb 3 (CTK) – Experts from the Jihlava-based GEOMIN firm examined the gold and platinum mining’s impact in western Colombia last year as a step to help Czech firms offer better technologies for the mining which is unfriendly to nature, ineffective and often illegal, GEOMIN’s Jiri Sourek has told CTK.

The project worth about half a million crowns was supported by the Czech Development Agency (CRA).

The EU is preparing a programme to help improve the mining methods and technologies in Colombia, Sourek said.

“We would like to join the programme as a consortium of Czech firms,” he said, adding that GEOMIN cooperates with the Intecha and the DSP Prerov companies focusing on technology design and supplies.

GEOMIN, a geological firm, has pursued activities abroad for 20 years now.

It previously implemented development projects in countries such as Mongolia and central Asian and east African states.

In Colombia, its task was to map the situation of small and medium-sized precious metal miners in the Choco province.

There are many of them and they often lack a valid mining licence, Sourek said.

“The Colombian government is seeking ways to legalise the black market,” he said.

He said mainly surface mining up to 15 metres underground has been widespread in the Choco region.

“In processing the ore, they often apply mercury and cyanids,” Sourek said, referring to the situation he could see in Colombia last September.

In view of the turbulent security situation in Colombia, the Czech experts were accompanied there by an armed military unit provided by the local authority.