PBI-Colombia accompanies Cahucopana in area with Canadian gold mines

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 4, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project posted, “This Sunday we accompanied the Cahucopana organization in Puerto López (Bajo Cauca, Antioquia) who conducted a workshop with social leaders in the area in order to determine protection and self-protection measures.”

PBI-Colombia has previously explained, “More than three hundred family farmers from Northeastern Antioquia decided in 2004 to create the Corporación Acción Humanitaria para la Convivencia y la Paz del Nordeste Antioqueño (Cahucopana).”

That post adds, “According to the plans in Proyecto Visión Colombia 2019, the mining area in Northeastern Antioquia will be the principal mining district for increasing access by multinationals and reducing artisanal mining.”

That includes mining by corporations based in Canada.

This rabble article from February 2017 notes, “According to the Colombian National Agency of Mining there are 27 Canadian companies operating in the country with 42 mining titles for copper, silver and gold.”

In March 2019, Mining.com reported, “Antioquia Gold of Calgary has announced the successful start of production at its Cisneros gold mine 80 km northeast of Medellin, in Antioquia. [The mine] has now reached the planned commercial rate of 500 t/d.”

Furthermore, the website for Toronto-based Continental Gold says it “is the most advanced large-scale gold mining company in Colombia and is presently developing it’s 100%-owned Buriticá project in Antioquia for scheduled production in 2020.”

This Financial Post article reports on attacks that have been experienced by Continental Gold in Colombia, including at its Buriticá and Berlin sites.

That article highlights, “[Toronto-based] Gran Colombia’s workers have also faced a terror campaign from a right-wing paramilitary that extorted its workers, and in at least one case murdered a worker from one of its mines.”

BNN Bloomberg has explained, “Illegal mining is a massive problem around the world, particularly in Latin America. Organized crime groups make a lot of money because they can launder their money more easily than by moving drugs.”

Beyond paramilitary and guerilla violence, there has also been community opposition.

The Financial Post has reported, “In 2017, one of [Gran Colombia’s] mines faced protests by a local mining collective that lasted 42 days.”

PBI-Colombia has explained, “Thousands of families from the region have lived off artisanal mining for centuries, mainly gold mining. …The arrival of large companies became a reality at the end of 2010, when 70 [small-scale artisanal] mines were closed and 118 people were detained in relation to informal mining in the area.”

PBI-Colombia has a team of volunteers based in Apartadó, Antioquia and has accompanied Cahucopana since 2013.

PBI-Colombia is currently seeking additional volunteers. For more on that, please click here. The deadline for applications is October 11.

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