AngloGold Ashanti operations suspended in Colombia
Colombia Reports, in March 2013, reported that the environmental authority of Tolima, Colombia, had ordered gold miner AngloGold Ashanti to stop its controversial activities in a central Colombian village, stating it had broken rules on mining exploration and water use.
The Autonomous Regional Corporation of Tolima (CORTOLIMA) stated that AngloGold Ashanti had engaged in exploration activities without permission, potentially causing damage to the protected riverbed in the village of Camao, Piedras and its surrounding area.
The director of CORTOLIMA, Jorge Enrique Cardozo, said that they had discovered two drilling platforms, one of which reached 44 meters deep, which they claim the company did not have permission for. According to the local Territorial Legislation of Piedras, adopted in 2000, the affected area is officially registered as an agricultural and agro-foresting area for pastoral and local peasant use.
“The activities were taking place in a highly fragile agricultural site, and were generating imminent risks and long term damage to the area’s land and water” said Cardozo.
The presence of the multinational gold miner in Piedras had caused controversy in the area ever since locals discovered the company was considering the area for a processing plant for its proposed "La Colosa" gold mine.
The suspension of activities had included the seizure of vehicles, equipment and mining equipment, including two 20-meter drilling rigs. A disciplinary investigation had been opened.
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