About Choco Department
Choco Department, in western Colombia, produces the majority of Colombia’s significant platinum output. Choco produced 28,359 ounces of platinum in 2011 (www.upme.gov.co).
Choco is also Colombia’s top gold-producing province. It produced 653,625 ounces in 2011 (www.upme.gov.co). The majority of this production is from small-scale operations. It is estimated that over $115 million worth of gold was mined in Choco up until 1890 (United States Geological Survey)—no estimates have yet been compiled for the sizeable output during the following century.
Despite being one of the most underdeveloped parts of Colombia, Choco is extremely well-located. It is the only Colombian department to have coastlines on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The Department of Choco forms the entire border between Colombia and Panama.
Choco has a population of approximately 450,000 people. Approximately 100,000 people live in the capital city of Quibdo. There is an airport in Quibdo, and an airport serving the platinum-producing region of Condoto.
The culture and heritage of Choco is unique. The Department is inhabited predominantly by Afro-Colombians—descendants of Africans brought by the Spanish after conquering the Americas. Its population currently has one of the lowest standards of living of all departments in Colombia.