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Ecuador: 5 killed in landslide at illegal gold mine

"Landslide in Ecuador Kills 5 at Illegal Mine", 18th November 2020

...A landslide killed at least five people on Wednesday and sent emergency workers on a frantic rescue mission in a remote part of northern Ecuador known for illegal gold mining.

The landslide was caused by illegal excavations, according to the country’s natural disasters and emergency response service, and occurred as Ecuador and neighboring nations like Colombia struggle to combat the illicit industry, which has surged with the rise of international gold prices.

Unsanctioned mines often form part of large criminal networks, conditions for workers are notoriously unsafe, and the trade often attracts violent actors to neighboring communities.

The landslide occurred in Esmeraldas, not far from the border with Colombia. Esmeraldas is one of Ecuador’s poorest provinces, and it has been ravaged by illegal activity, including the trafficking of timber and narcotics...