Case study on Colombia – La Colosa – multinational AngloGold Ashanti mine
Peasant farmer communities, local citizens and local government in Cajamarca, Colombia, are confronting the multinational AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), and its proposed gold mine La Colosa. La Colosa, AngloGold Ashanti proposes to exploit and open-pit gold mine in the beautiful agricultural and highly sensitive ecological area important for climate change, of the Nevados paramos[i] and a Central Forestal Reserve in Colombia.[ii]. A case which demonstrates the systemic challenges that communities face in a context of dramatic asymmetries of economic, legal, and political power.
Join us to hear from Colombian environmental defenders the communities’ struggle. This case demonstrates why the UK needs a ‘Business, Human Rights and Environmental Act’ – a mandatory ‘human rights and environmental due diligence’ law modelled on the UK Bribery Act – similar to legislation due to come into force across Europe.
Chair: Chris Bryant, MP
Sara Moreno, Colombian Lawyer, Siembra, Colombia
Robinson Mejía, Human Rights Defenders and Environmental Community leader, COSAJUCA, Colombia
Evie Clarke, Corporate Justice Coalition
Louise Winstanley, ABColombia
Topics of discussion
- the case and its wider implications for people, human rights and climate change
- what MPs and Peers can do to support a new UK law on Business, Human Rights and the Environment to hold multinational companies to account for their activities
Attacks on indigenous, campesino and afro-descendant communities in Colombia have continued despite the 2016 Peace Accord, often driven by the exploitation of Colombia’s natural resources.
AngloGold Ashanti proposes to exploit an open-pit gold mine – La Colosa – in Cajamarca, on rich agricultural land that supports the livelihoods of local citizens, and highly sensitive ecological areas that are important for climate change – the Andean Paramos and the Central Forestal reserve.
Campesino organisations, young peoples’ organisations and national environmental groups have tirelessly campaigned against mining projects in Colombia for many years. In March 2017, in a local referendum, an overwhelming 97% of the population voted to protect water sources and reject the mine – and the company was forced to suspend its operations in Cajamarca.
Despite this, the struggle over the land continues, and those defending that land remain at risk. The adoption of a new law on human rights and environmental due diligence by the UK would help level the playing field by, inter alia, increasing legal certainty about the standards expected from the business sector. It would also address human rights and environmental abuses by UK headquartered or registered companies in its activities.
[i]Law 2/1959; WWF, ¿Qué son las Reservas Forestales Protectoras Nacionales? 29 December 2020, https://www.wwf.org.co/?365650/Que-son-las-Reservas-Forestales-Protectoras-Nacionales
[ii] Pacto por los Nevados: agua para el Eje Cafetero, Tolima y el país, 3 May 2016 https://www.wwf.org.co/en/?269471/Pacto%2Dpor%2Dlos%2DNevados%2Dagua%2Dpara%2Del%2DEje%2DCafetero%2DTolima%2Dy%2Del%2Dpais