MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Mining Concession Granted Without Community Public Notice In Jigamiandů, Colombia

Published by MAC on 2006-02-20
Source: Colombian Intereclesiastical Commission

Mining Concession Granted Without Community Public Notice in Jigamiandó, Colombia

by Colombian Intereclesiastical Commission for Justice and Peace

20th February 2006

On February 4, 2006, the then-Governor of the Department of Antioquia, Aníbal Gaviria Correa, signed a contract with James Álaro Valdiri Reyes, Colombian representative of mining company Muriel Mining Corporation, based in Colorado, USA. This contract grants a concession for the carrying out of a mining operation for copper, gold, molybendum and other minerals, initially in a zone of 5,000 acres, located in land surrounding the municipalities of Murindó, Antioquia, and Carmen del Darién, Chocó. The contract for the exploitation is for thirty years.

According to the concession, this mine will cover part of the territories of the Protected Indigenous Lands of Uradá-Jiguamiandó and of the Community Council of the Jiguamiandó River Basin, which is under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Carmen del Darién. More concretely, around a quarter of the area of the mining concession is in collective hands of Jiguamiandó and the remaining three-quarters cover the Protected Indigenous Lands of Embera-Katío and the Municipality of Murindó. However, the Ministry of the Environment, Housing and Territorial Development has stated that theyhave not approved any environmental permits for mining in this region.

Adding to this, information has now emerged on the existance of another mining concession, signed between these parties on September 28, 2004, with a surface extension of 40,000 acres. The duration of this concession is 30 years, and it includes various construction projects, including a helicopter landing facility in the community of Coredocito.

Despite the fact that Colombia is a signatory of the ILOConvention 169 on Indigenous Peoples and Tribes, and has passed laws such as Law 70 in 1994 and the Mining Code, the communities of peoples African descent of the Community Council of Jiguamiandó have not been notified, informed or consulted by any public entity on implemntation of concession contracts or the mining exploration that will be carried out upon more than 1,250 acres of their collective territory.

Nor have the communities participated in the notifications, audiences, interventions and public processes for the awarding of the contract, upon which the economic, social and cultural impacts for the indigenous and black communities are determined.

This type of mining activity will affect and dismantle the cultural, social, and - above all- the economic resources of these indigenous communities...[and therefore violate] Articles 121 and 259 of the Mining Code, Article 44 of the Law 70 of 1994, and Articles 4, 6, numbers A, B and 15, Number 2 of the Convention 189 on Indigenous Peoples and Tribes of the International Organization of Labor.

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