Many producing countries export some of their gold from unknown origin. Illegal mining are destructive for many reasons: socially, environmentally and economically.
The interests are multiple but I could also noticed during my travels that ownership of such illegal claims are those of greedy business men, armed groups or local mafias.
The control and the eradication of illegal mining is extremely difficult anywhere it occurs. Illegal mining is always linked to a highly profitable parallel economy based on corruption and black market.
Economically, it enriches some individuals, but it dramatically dilutes the potential of a long term ore deposit for the wealth of the country.
In Peru, where about 20% of annual gold output is of unknown origin, the government effort remains undersized in regards of the number of illegal miners. In the Tambopata reserve (Peru, southern Amazon), the illegal mining are progressing . All poor and emerging countries are impacted by illegal mining for precious or strategic ores.
Even in China the fight to eradicate illegal mining for rare earth elements are still continuing.
National and international commitments should be intensified around a coordinated fight to eradicate this sourcing mode which ultimately passes through refineries.
In Colombia, the term "ecocide" might be introduced and could penalized the impacts of illegal mining. Read more.