The Cerrejon Coal mine is the biggest opencast coal mine in Latin America and is owned by three huge multinational mining companies trading on the London Stock Exchange: Anglo American, BHP and Glencore.
The decision of the Colombian Constitutional Court SU-698 of 2017, protects: ‘The right to health, water and food security of indigenous communities in the face of the threat of violation by the project to divert the channel of the Bruno Stream that the Cerrejon company is pursuing ‘, but this was ignored by Cerrejon and the State Institutions when they authorised the diversion and destruction of the natural course of the Bruno Stream with the objective of expanding and continuing coal extraction.
According to technical experts in hydrology, the diversion of the Bruno Stream is causing perpetual and irreparable damage with the destruction of the aquifer and the loss of underground water storage capacity, generated by the siphoning effect on the groundwater generated by the large hole in the mine next to this channel. This is highly worrying in an area of water scarcity and highly vulnerable to climate change.
Communities in La Guajira are demanding that the Bruno Stream be returned to its natural course, as as they have a spiritual connection to this tributary of the Rancheria River, the main river in this semi-desert area, home to dry tropical forest, an ecosystem in critical danger of extinction. In addition, in the climate emergency we are going through, coal extraction is unjustified and places at risk the life of the planet. The only possible action is a transition towards a just closure of the mine.
Please support the Wayuu people by calling on Colombian institutions and the Chief Executives of the mining companies to respect Wayuu people’s rights and return the water of the Bruno Stream to its natural cause following the Constitutional Court Decision SU-698 of 2017.
We have created an email template, and if you wish to use it, please take the time to follow the link to add your voice. https://londonminingnetwork.org/2021/05/free-the-bruno-stream-the-wayuu-people-can-live-without-coal-but-not-without-water/
The mining industry is one of the most destructive activities in the world, often affecting Indigenous Peoples, African traditional and customary communities and small-scale farmers. Mining drives land seizures, disrupts lives, pollutes water and air, affecting the health of people who live around mines, destroys livelihoods, divides communities, undermines cultures and devastates ecosystems. In addition, the direct environmental impact of mining can be catastrophic, for example, the tailings dam failures at Samarco and Brumadinho in Brazil. In addition, it is common for multinational companies to walk away by selling their mines and leaving responsibility for repair and restoration to others. This is illustrated by a report from February 2020 by London Mining Network.
The Cerrejon Coal Company has a permit to operate until 2034 and currently Anglo American has expressed its intention to sell its shares in the Cerrejon mine no later than May 2023 in line with its intention to focus on greener energy. However, it still has the chance to close the Cerrejon mine properly, which restores the environmental damage, with the participation of communities and workers in developing a just mine closure plan.
Anglo American portrays itself as a modern, responsible and sustainable company and one that holds the key to combating the climate crisis. It is an attractive narrative and one that definitely appeals to investors. However, it is one that only makes sense if you ignore the voices of mining-affected communities.