Once again, a community that understands that water, earth, and the natural environment are more valuable than gold, raised their voice and said NO to open pit gold mining on their land.
The municipality of Cajamarca is located in the middle of the state of Tolima, on the Anaime canyon, between the Anaime and Bermellón rivers, close to two very important tourist attractions in Colombia.
This clearly means NO to mining
Miners found that for every ton of rock they could obtain a small gold bean, but many beans of gold can be found on this widespread zone known for its agricultural wealth.
The mining company AngloGold Ashanti (AGA), started there ten year ago with the exploitation of 5,000 hectares of green mountain, until sunday March 26th when the people of Cajamarca decided to consult the public through a vote in order stop the extraction efforts.
Flyer calling everyone to a popular consultation
The central argument of the popular consultation is quite simple, to protect the way of life of the local farmer, and to stand up against the complete devastation of a beautiful place that’s often called “The breadbasket of Colombia”.
“NO to mining” was the winner, it won the vote by 98%. The World Conscious Pact celebrates this news, as it avoids the destruction of an area with great agricultural and touristic value, not for the benefit of a community or an entire country, but for the benefit of a few.
The benefits of mining are not for the citizens
Experience shows that mining destroys the way of life of a healthy community, in terms of benefits, it damages the surface of the earth, and abandons an area when the wealth runs out.
The Minister of Energy and Mines, Germán Arce commented that a municipal popular consultation only affects its own municipality, and that it doesn’t have the power to break the social state of the law.
In other words, the municipality doesn’t have power over the mining deed granted to AngloGold Ashanti.
The popular vote was carried out peacefully
On the other hand, the mining company still hasn’t obtained their environmental license. In the best case scenario, the environmental authorities will deny it due to the nonconformity of the people of Cajamarca.
What follows could be similar to the story of Máxima Acuña or the Sarayaku people, thousands of bureaucratic procedures trying to expose the abuse of power and that the ultimate purpose of the law is to protect citizens.
With this motive, the people of Cajamarca ask for support. The World Conscious Pact along with millions of other world citizens are sure that we can we support this decisión. Our beliefs coincide with those of the people of Cajamarca, that water, grains, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, and arracachas (regional root vegetables), are better for a community than mining exploitation.