Cerrejon Coal and villagers of Roche reach agreement at last in Colombia

Roche agreement 17 Oct 2013

After weeks of renewed negotiation between Cerrejon Coal and eight farming families of African descent at the village of Old Roche in the province of La Guajira, Colombia, an agreement has been reached allowing the families to relocate to a new site next year.

Cerrejon Coal is owned by London-listed Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata.

Many families from Roche moved to a new site last year, but eight families, led by community activist Yoe Arregoces, held out for a better deal, particularly with regard to land for livestock.

The community was negotiating under the threat of legal expropriation, but the company postponed a planned forced eviction in August after protests from around the world. The extra time allowed a negotiated settlement to be reached.

Yoe Arregoces welcomed the agreement, which will relieve pressure on the community. He thanked international supporters, including LMN member group Colombia Solidarity Campaign, who have stood with the community in their struggle for a just settlement.

A fuller report about the agreement is on the Cerrejon Coal website.

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