Illicit mining is often directly related to transnational criminal activity and human rights violations. CBP uses its authorities to investigate and deter illegal mining. Some of the most common illegally mined materials are gold and diamonds. CBP is designated by the U.S. Congress as the “importing authority” for diamonds to ensure legitimacy and compliance with the Kimberley Process.
CBP Enforcement Authority by Illicit Mined Material
Gold is one of the most commonly illicitly mined resources. CBP works to leverage its civil authorities to assist in disincentivize this practice. CBP’s civil authorities often lends assistance and provides greater options to other agencies engaged in the fight against illicit gold when criminal prosecutions may not be an option.
In many countries, there is significant overlap between illegal logging and illegal gold mining. Criminal networks often use land cleared by illegal logging operations to establish illegal mining activities where they use mercury to search for raw minerals, like gold. Mercury pollutes nearby water sources, poisoning wildlife and local drinking water.
Illicit mining is often linked to trade-based money laundering. In response, CBP has developed an expertise in combatting this dangerous practice. Money laundering allows transnational criminal organizations to fund their dangerous activities while they evade the scrutiny of law enforcement. Illicit mining is often tied to some of the most violent criminal organizations around the world and CBP continues to work to end these violations.