According to Juan Ruiz Quintana, general director of Mining at MINEM, the illegal extraction of minerals has shown a growing trend since 2003.
The official told Granma newspaper that this occurs mainly in old gold deposits or where there is alluvial gold in cental and eastern Cuba.
A fire that occurred several weeks ago in the Alejandro von Humbolt National Park, in eastern Cuba, highlighted the danger posed by illegal mining.
Quintana noted that during 2020 and at the end of the first quarter of 2021, authorities indicted 115 people linked to the illegal extraction of gold, mainly in eastern Guantanamo, Holguin and Las Tunas provinces.
According to the current legislation, mining in Cuba requires a consent that is processed by the National Office for Mineral Resources and granted by the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers or the minister of Energy and Mines, depending on the mineral in question.