PBI-Colombia accompanies CREDHOS at blockade against environmental licence for Colcco open-pit coal mine

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On January 24, CREDHOS tweeted:

“#CredhosIsWater Accompanied the second day of the strike of communities in sectors of Oponcito, Campo 23 and Lizama; for the respect of the humanitarian corridor and protest against the approval of the Environmental License for the exploitation of coal in the open pit in Carmen del Chucurí #ColccoNoVa.”

Infobae further explains: “In Barrancabermeja (Santander) protests continue against the license for the exploitation of open-pit coal, in the Carmén de Chucurí, which was granted to Colcco S. A., the demonstrators have blocked the crossing of Oponcito, La Lizama and Campo 23. So in gas stations of the municipality, they have reported fuel shortages, because the supply area is located where the blockades are made.”

That article adds: “As a result of the blockades, which have also been recorded on the road that connects La Lizama with San Alberto, at kilometer 2, the tanker trucks that transport the fuel to the oil capital of Colombia have been trapped, where, according to preliminary reports, there are already more than seven stations that do not have gasoline.”

And the article in Infobae also notes: “To avoid generating greater chaos, humanitarian corridors have been created to allow the passage of ambulances and students. This occurs in lapses of every two hours.”

Caracol adds: “Peasants, farmers, ranchers, cocoa farmers, fish farmers and avocado and citrus growers in the Chucurí area are protesting at the site. The communities ask to revoke the environmental license DGL457 of August 22, 2022, and DGL 884 of November 10 of the Autonomous Corporation of Santander, CAS, which grants the multinational coal company Colcco, to exploit the mines of the municipalities of San Vicente and El Carmen.”

And Semana reports: “Given this panorama, the government of Santander, through the Ministry of Environment, called on the Ministry of Environment to revoke the license, which is valid for 30 years and the development of these exploitation activities would cause irreversible environmental damage in the municipalities of San Vicente and El Carmen de Chucurí.”

That article in Semana also highlights, that despite the threats against them by paramilitary groups: “The demonstrators have assured that until the mining license granted to Colcco is repealed, they will continue protesting and blocking the road. In addition, they call on the national government to listen to them and provide them with a prompt solution.”

“We announce together with @susanamuhamad an action for annulment of the license given to COLCCO in El Carmen de Chucurí. Our position is a vehement rejection of open pit mining and mega-mining, within the framework of the protection of Nature and Life. #ColccoNoVa.”

And while we do not know of a link at this time between Canada and Colcco, we can highlight that Canadian banks have invested more than a billion dollars in coal mining between 2016 and 2021, including by the Bank of Montreal ($662 million), Scotiabank ($385 million), TD ($384 million), RBC ($372 million) and CIBC ($35 million).

PBI-Colombia has accompanied the Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS) since 1994.

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