Colombian Emeralds are renowned globally. Formerly, only three main mines based in the
Andes were extracting due to civil unrest. These mines are, the Muzo mine that produces
Colombia s most valuable emeralds, the Chivor mine and the Coscuez mine, which are all
located in the Boyaca Province.
Fortunately, this has changed owing to an ongoing peace process, and several mines that were not previously exploited for decades are now in operation, thus allowing Colombia to experience a favourable increase in production and the opportunity to deliver more high-quality stones. There are now nine major mines on the Western belt and ten on the Eastern belt of the Andes that are able to extract and deliver Colombias' treasured beryl gemstone to the world:
Western Belt - Muzo, Coscuez, Las Pavas, La Pita, Penas Blancas, La Palma, Yacopi and Quipama
Eastern Belt - Chivor, Somondoco, Guali, La Vega da San Juan, Las Cruces, El Diamente, La Estrella, El Perro, La Mula and El Toro
Colombian emeralds are known to have a warmer intense green and are distinguished as the purest in the world. This is because they are found in the sedimentary rock of the Andes. The tectonic activity in this area transforms raw elements such as beryllium, chromium and vanadium into gaseous or liquid form thus allowing crystallisation to occur when these elements become trapped in the crevasses. The sedimentary rock produces a saline solution, which washes out impurities such as iron, producing the clearest of Emeralds.
As of late, investment into Colombia s gold industry has flourished.
In addition to industrial level investment that is conducted in accordance to local
and international standards, an interest in small artisanal mines has arisen from
foreign investors and non-profit organisations like Ethical-Stones. Most
of these mines are currently operated by local communities with dated mining
practices that use mercury to recover gold, which present a negative impact on
the environment (Colombia will prohibit the use of mercury in the extraction of
minerals by 2023).
Artisanal miners rarely have the means to obtain a mining license or to
self-sufficiently invest in innovative methods and technology and are continuously
under pressure from armed groups and regulatory pressure from the national government.
Despite these constraints, at present, Colombia has certified 5 artisanal mines that produce Ethical Gold, which is procured by international jewellery houses, refineries, jewellers and mints, in 22 countries.
Ethical-Stones plays a prevalent role in modernising artisanal gold mines in the Bolivar and Santander Provinces and is working in collusion with these mines, local authorities, exploration companies, mining equipment providers, multi-lateral development agencies and foreign investors, in order to transform the landscape of artisanal gold mining in Colombia