Organizations ask State Council to uphold suspension of environmental permits for La Colosa mine

Organizations ask State Council to uphold suspension of environmental permits for La Colosa mine

Cajamarca, April 20, 2022

Regarding AngloGold Ashanti’s intentions to resume the La Colosa mining project, the organizations of Cajamarca requested the Council of State to enforce the results of the popular consultation that prohibited mining in this territory.

 Last Friday, April 8, the organizations Fundación para la Defensa de la Madre Tierra, Corporación Cajamarca Despensa Agrícola e Hídrica, Consejo de la Cuenca del Río Coello, Concejo Municipal de Cajamarca and Alcaldía Municipal de Cajamarca presented different coadjutants to support the validity of the resolutions issued by the environmental authority in the department of Tolima, Cortolima, through which it was decided to terminate the water concessions granted to the company AngloGold Ashanti for the development of the La Colosa mining project. The purpose of these coadjutants is to support Cortolima’s arguments and protect the territory’s water resources.

“After the citizens of Cajamarca said no to mining in their territory through the popular consultation, Cortolima issued Resolutions 1646 and 1649 of 2019 by which it declared the termination of the water concessions granted to AngloGold Ashanti. In view of this, the multinational company filed an action for annulment and reestablishment of rights in the Council of State against Cortolima”, explained José Domingo Rodriguez, legal representative of the Popular Consultation Promotion Committee.

He added: “However, in the face of the claim to recover the ownership of these concessions for the La Colosa project, Cortolima opposed and assured that the resolutions in question enjoy the principle of presumption of legality and were issued on constitutional and legal grounds. That is what we are supporting today”.

The decision adopted by the Magistrate on this case is of special importance for the respect of democracy, since these resolutions were issued in accordance with the results and in support of the popular consultation. In addition, it is a relevant decision because its effects will affect the territory’s water resources.

With this lawsuit, once again, AngloGold Ashanti seeks, on the one hand, to disregard Agreement 003 of 2017 of the Municipal Council of Cajamarca, through which the results of the popular consultation are adopted and, on the other hand, seeks to attack the decisions of the environmental authorities for the environmental protection of the territory.

Finally, Elizabeth Muñoz, member of the Environmental and Peasant Committee of Cajamarca and Anaime, said: “This popular consultation has become a milestone in the socio-environmental struggles of the country and is a legitimate reflection of the processes of territorial defense that resist the imposition of the extractivist development model that threatens the integrity of the environment and peasant livelihoods. However, five years after Cajamarca banned mining, the extractivist threat is still latent, which is why it is imperative to continue defending the popular will in litigation scenarios such as the one currently taking place before the Council of State.

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