|An anti-mining mural by Toxicomano on 26th Street in Bogotá. The text says 'Water is worth more than gold.'|
|Colombian coal production has boomed in |
recent years as security has improved.
Nearly all of Colombia's coal is exported.
Drummond has helped make Colombia the world's fourth-largest coal exporter, but left a trail of controversy. The company has also been sued for allegedly collaborating with right-wing paramilitary groups to repress and even murder union leaders. Drummond denies the accusations. Pres. Juan Manuel Santos calls mining one of the 'locomotives' of Colombia's economy, and mining pours huge sums into the economy - but at a great social and environmental cost.
An exhibition in the Claustro de San Agustin paints a dire picture of mining's impacts on
|El Cerrejon coal mine.|
Ironically, the requirement that mining companies replace their barge loading systems with direct loading systems such as conveyor belts will produce different environmental impacts if the transport ships must approach the shore, requiring dredging of the seafloor.
|Black stain in Santa Marta Bay, apparently |
from coal exporting. (Image: Alejandro Arias)
This week, neighbors spotted a black stain in the waters near Santa Marta, apparently caused by coal. Drummond said that it didn't cause the pollution, which may come from another company washing off its coal loading equipment.
Coincidentally, a United Nations report released today also found that coal mining in Cesar Department has actually increased poverty in the region, as well as drug addiction and prostitution by young women.
(Images below are from the exhibition in the Claustro de San Agustin)
|Foreign mining companies working in Colombia. With five major mines, Canadian companies dominate Colombian mining. There are also two South African-owned mines and one owned by the United States-based Drummond Coal.|
|Colombia has only 15 inspectors for its 6,000 mines. And Colombia does not require environmental licenses for exploratory work for minerals.|
|In several Colombian departments, illegal mines far outnumber legal ones.|
|Pres. Alvaro Uribe gave mining companies huge tax benefits and removed restrictions on their expansion.|
|More than 200 mining licenses are partly or completely within indigenous territories.|
|Many 'protected areas' have mines or proposed mines within their borders.|
|'Many foreign companies use mining methods which are banned in their home countrties.'|