Three employees of Continental Gold Inc. were killed in an attack on the residence where exploration geologists and contractors for the Buriticá project were staying in the village of Ochalí in the municipality of Yarumal, Colombia, on September 19. Several others were injured in the overnight attack, according to the company.
It is believed the attack was carried out by a dissident group of ex-FARC members, Continental Gold said.
“We iterate our deep sorrow and solidarity with the families of our deceased employees — Laura, Henry and Camilo — and will continue to provide a strong shoulder of support to those affected,” the company said in a statement.
Mayor of Yarumal Julia Areiza has previously stated that there has not been the presence of armed groups in the region for quite a while — this specific group has not been active in the area for more than five years.
Continental Gold said safety and security of its employees and contractors is its No. 1 priority. A joint evaluation of the security conditions was performed prior to exploration. The company said it had security contractors in place at all times with employees and an agreement was in place with the National Army of Colombia to provide permanent direct support.
Operations at the Buriticá project remain unhindered and continue to operate under normal parameters. Buriticá is one of the largest and highest-grade gold projects in the world and is being advanced utilizing best practices for mine construction, environmental care and community inclusion.
This incident comes after one September 5 when two Continental Gold mining engineers, who work for the Formalization and Mining Control area, were attacked by two armed individuals in the town of Buriticá. Tragically, Oscar Alarcon was fatally wounded and the other employee was injured and is currently being treated and is in stable condition.