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Tungsten's Tainted Trail

By Mike Smith - 2013-08-08T15:33:40Z

Photograph by Carlos Villalon/Bloomberg Markets

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Laundering Tungsten

Since 2008, there have been 40 shipments of tungsten ore from Colombia by 14 companies, according to government export documents. Although none of the records from these shipments say the tungsten ore comes from FARC-run Tiger Hill, Colombian authorities are convinced that it does. Cesar Melendez, an environmental ministry official, says buyers are exporting tungsten from the FARC mine to international buyers by hiding the ore’s true origins. “They falsify the source of illegal metals,” Melendez says. “This is how they launder tungsten.” 

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