Suggested letter to British companies involved in coal mining in Colombia Print
Areas of Work - Mining
Tuesday, 20 February 2007 18:56
Please send a letter to the British based companies involved in coal mining in Colombia expressing your concern about the impact of the companies operations. An example letter has been included below.

Sir Mark Moody Stuart, Chair, Anglo American plc,
20 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AN.

Don Argus, Chair, BHPBilliton plc,
Neathouse Place, London SW1V 1BH.

Willy Strothotte, Chair, Xstrata plc,
4th Floor, Panton House, 25 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4EN.

Dear Sir Mark/Mr Argus/Mr Strothotte,

I am concerned about the impacts of your company?s mining operations on Black and Indigenous communities in the north of Colombia, representatives of which visited the UK during the period 26 January to 6 February this year.

I understand that in August 2001, shortly after the purchase of 50% of the Cerrejon North mine by the consortium of which your company now forms a part, most of the village of Tabaco was demolished without warning, and its inhabitants violently evicted with the help of hundreds of armed security personnel, to make way for mine expansion; and that the rest of the village was demolished in January 2002. I understand that in February 2002 the consortium bought out Intercor and took over operation of the mine, through a wholly owned Colombian subsidiary. I am told that residents who have held out for community relocation have yet to receive the relocation package that they are requesting from the company.

I know that your company regrets the way that the community of Tabaco was treated and that you believe that the Cerrejon Coal Company now offers reasonable compensation to those facing removal from their land. However, community representatives allege that householders in communities around the mine are still being individually pressured to sell up for inadequate sums, told that they must agree to individual settlements or get nothing, and intimidated if they hold out for collective negotiation.

Concerned about the reputation of this country and of companies based here in London, I urge you to pay more attention to the impacts of the Cerrejon mining operations on surrounding communities and ensure that the communities? wishes are respected. Specifically, I urge you to accept the following demands of communities that have been or will be displaced by the mining:

? collective negotiation between representatives of the communities of Tabaco, Roche, Chancleta, Patilla, Tamaquitos, Los Remedios and Provincial, and the Cerrejon Coal Company, in the presence of the Sintracarbon trade union and international observers

? community relocation for the people of Tabaco, Roche, Chancleta, Patilla and Tamaquitos

? adequate levels of financial compensation for all community members.

Yours sincerely,