The mayors of five municipalities that fall within the Cesar mining corridor, in northern Colombia, have asked the Gustavo Petro government to gradually phase out mining operations and promote a smooth transition into another type of industry. This, instead of ordering an abrupt closure of all of the mines in the region.
About 90% of the corridor’s economy is based on mining and related activities.
According to local media, the mayors have expressed concern regarding Petro’s stance on mining, particularly since nothing has been done following the handing of Prodeco’s coal mining concessions back to the Colombian state.
Since Glencore’s subsidiary gave back the concessions, close to 5,000 people were left unemployed and are surviving by working in nearby farms or by launching small entrepreneurial ventures. In addition to this, some municipalities are losing about $4 million in taxes and royalties due to the stagnant mining industry.
The Caracol report notes that the process of finding a new owner for the mines has been suspended until after Prodeco fulfills all of its technical, environmental, labour and financial obligations.