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16 de mayo | | | |

Organizations reject mining project in Southwest Antioquia, Colombia

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Peasants from Jericó and Támesis are mobilizing against Anglo Gold Ashanti and denounce police threats.

Indigenous, peasant, social and environmental organizations have denounced that South African mining company Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) has tried to resume operations early May in Jericó and Támesis municipalities (Antioquia), whose municipal councils decided to ban metal mining last year. But Antioquia´s administrative court voided this popular decision to carry out copper exploration works.

AGA´s mining titles cover 7600 of the 19000 hectares of Jericó.

So far this month, there have been at least three attempts by the company to enter the lands for exploration works. Jericó´s inhabitants have resisted the entrance of AGA workers and the police arrived to the lands “in an arbitrary, aggressive way, pushing people around, threatening and harassing them”, said Fernando Jaramillo, member of Jericó´s Environmental Table in an interview with Real World Radio.

Jaramillo has been joining the peasants of the communities most affected by the mining project, where the company wishes to install drilling platforms, and he highlighted that peasants prevented police threats from “escalating”.

For three days in a row, the inhabitants cleared this territory that is sacred for farming communities. Last weekend (May 12-13) they spoke at the local security council “for the police to act in a civil way”, added the local leader.

In the past days the company has not tried to enter the lands, but the population suspects that they must be accessing the lands from another point. “AGA won´t desist in the short term because their position is extremely favorable due to the support of corrupt authorities and security forces. But we will continue resisting”, said Jaramillo.

“As part of our legal efforts we will elaborate a new land-use management plan to avoid metal mining, an unquestionable tool at Constitutional level, which will be decided in an open assembly to be carried out in Jericó”, he added.

The inhabitants of Támesis will also organize an open assembly and they have stated that they will not grant a license to AGA to authorize explorations and that they do not support any kind of megamining project. They also denounced that the government is “disregarding their territorial autonomy”.

So far, over ten municipalities of Southwest Antioquia have signed municipal agreements “to reject the mining-energy dictatorship that affects us so much”, added the Coordinators of organization Cinturón Occidental Ambiental.

Imagen: COA

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