Gold mining companies in Colombia are under increasing pressure as local and statewide municipalities continue to crack down on their activities. Antioquia, Colombia’s mountainous region in the center of the country, is currently the site of scores of gold mining projects. They look to be in danger as the country’s anti-business leftists push for more restrictive laws.
Within the past five months, mining has been prohibited in four municipalities in Antioquia including Urrao, Jericó, Támesis and most recently in Titiribí.
The recent vote in Titiribi was approved with 8 votes supporting the ban and 2 against. José Fernando Jaramillo, a member of the Environmental Board of Antioquia, explained the decision to ban gold, copper and zinc mining, but to keep coal mining.
“The tendency is such that through municipal agreements, or through referendums, Antioquia will develop a clear defense against multinational mining companies. Municipalities are protesting for their cultural rights to be defended, and to eliminiate mining”, Jaramillo stated.
He also explained that, in the case of Titiribí, the decision originated within the municipal council with the intention to protect the state’s environment and culture.
The population Titiribí have protested against mining in their region because of the fear of population displacement, as was the case in other regions of Antioquia such as Segovia and Buriticá. The municipalities of Concordia and Salgar are looking forward to joining those who have already banned mining in their territory.
With leftist parties poised to gain even more seats in forthcoming elections, global mining companies now face the reality that Antioquia could become the first state in Colombia to ban mining entirely within the region.