Colombian children dropping out of school to work at mining sites

Authorities in Riosucio, a town located in the Colombian department of Caldas, expressed concern today after a recent review of school registries.

According to local media, Mayor Abel David Jaramillo spoke with the governor of the province and denounced that an unprecedented number of young children are dropping out of school and joining illegal mining activities in the surroundings of the Cauca river.

Even though he didn’t reveal the exact number of kids that have left the classrooms, Governor Ricardo Gómez Giraldo said he was going to tackle the problem by ordering the closure of several of the 250 illegal open-pit mines operating in the area. It is estimated that more than 1,500 people work there.

To avoid a public revolt, the province, the Department for Social Prosperity, and the National Learning Service will join forces and provide learning opportunities, as well as 500 jobs for people willing to move away from illegal gold mining.

Gómez Giraldo also expects that by shutting down as many artisanal pits as possible, floods and landslides will be prevented.