Local votes in Colombia block extractive projects


South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti had high hopes in 2007 when it began to develop its La Colosa open-pit gold mine in Cajamarca, a municipality in Colombia’s western department of Tolima. The mine, slated to be one of the world’s largest open-pit projects, would tap gold reserves estimated at 28 million ounces and generate up to US$700 million annually over its 20-year lifespan. But La Colosa soon hit a wall of opposition. Local inhabitants argued that its use of cyanide to separate gold from the surrounding ore could pollute rivers that irrigate thousands of farms in the region. They also worried about potential contamination of soils due to runoff from the mine. Last March, after 14 years of work and $900 million... [Log in to read more]

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