Colom­bia: Dig­i­tal Fin­ger­prints To Com­bat Il­le­gal Emer­ald Min­ing

Solitaire - - SPECTRUM -

The Colom­bian min­istry of mines and en­ergy, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Colom­bian Ge­o­log­i­cal Ser­vice and the Na­tional Univer­sity, has bud­geted $30 mil­lion for a fiveyear “Min­eral Dig­i­tal Fin­ger­print” project that started in 2018. This project is based on a tech­nique de­vel­oped in Aus­tralia and ap­plied in South Africa as a con­trol mech­a­nism for the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of gold and pre­cious stones.

The goal of the Fin­ger­print (La Huella) project is to pro­vide an un­der­stand­ing of the par­tic­u­lar con­di­tions and phys­i­cal-chem­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics that were present at the time of the ge­o­log­i­cal for­ma­tion of a min­eral, which then gives a spe­cific geo-chem­i­cal DNA. This Fin­ger­print can also be traced at the dif­fer­ent stages of ex­ploita­tion, re­fine­ment and com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of the min­er­als.

The “Min­eral Fin­ger­prints” will be iden­ti­fied in the de­posits where the min­er­als are formed as well as in the trans­for­ma­tion pro­cesses such as smelt­ing, re­fin­ing, cut­ting, and pol­ish­ing. In the case of trans­formed min­er­als, this tech­nique can be used to de­ter­mine whether they came from a de­posit or if they were re­cy­cled. The in­fra­struc­ture of the project will in­clude ac­cred­i­ta­tion by a cer­ti­fied lab­o­ra­tory, the con­struc­tion of a data bank of Min­eral Fin­ger­prints, and the gen­er­a­tion of a cer­tifi­cate val­i­dat­ing the ori­gin of the min­er­als.

“Thanks to Min­eral Fin­ger­prints, it will be pos­si­ble to strengthen the au­dit process for con­trol in the min­ing pro­duc­tion chain, in­crease tech­no­log­i­cal ca­pac­ity in the gen­er­a­tion of tools for the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the law­ful and in­dis­putable ori­gin of min­er­als, and ex­pand the knowl­edge and ge­o­log­i­cal car­tog­ra­phy of the sub­soil,” ex­plained Dr. Arce Za­p­ata, out­go­ing min­is­ter of mines. “It will take Colom­bian min­ing to an­other level.”

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