Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia sees emerald rush after roadworks hit vein

Roadworks in Colombia have sparked an emerald rush after a repair crew hit a rich vein of the precious gem in the northwestern Boyaca region.

Hundreds of treasure hunters flocked to the remote area, known locally as The Devil's Nose, after the news spread.

Police have now cordoned off the steep mountain road for the public's safety.

Construction worker Julian Correa told local broadcaster RCN: "I was working and I noticed something shining and I asked myself, 'what could that be?'"

"I am not from this area, so I mentioned it to someone who's from here and I was told it could be that there are emeralds here," he said.

Colombia produces about 60% of the world's emeralds and Boyaca is one of the main mining regions.

Mr Correa was part of a team repairing a steep mountain road with a 500m (1,600ft) drop down one side when they came across the vein of emerald.

Local resident Esteban Pena told RCN that people had flocked to the area hoping to cash in on the discovery.

"Some people found [emerald deposits valued at] 5m pesos ($2,750, £1,700), 10m pesos ($5,500) - as much as they could get," he said.

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