Among London-listed mining companies operating in Colombia are Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, BHP Billiton, Glencore and Xstrata; and Rio Tinto is also interested in the country.
Government designates 2.9 million hectares for mining development in Colombia
Colombia’s government has defined 313 strategic mineral areas totaling 2.9Mha and located in 15 departments, according to President Juan Manuel Santos. Mining permits in the country presently cover 5Mha, so the new areas are equivalent to 60% of what is currently allocated for mining development, Santos said.
National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) Press Release: March 6 – Against False Land Restitution Bogota, February 21, 2012.
The National Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) asserts that the restitutions undertaken by the Santos administration, as part of the “Victims’ and Land Restitution Law,” are not true restitutions. Rather, these actions are oriented more toward a formalization of existing land ownership than a genuine transfer of lands to those whose land and properties were stolen as a result of the country’s political, social and armed conflict.
Victims of State crimes will mobilize on March 6, International Day of Victims of State Crimes, with autonomy and independence, in the cities of MonterĂ­a, Villavicencio, and other regions, to demand that the Colombian government tell the truth about restitutions to Colombia and the world.
We have found that: – Of the 114 million hectares in Colombia, 39 million have been granted to mining companies. This situation will not be remedied by the Victims’ Law, since mining firms and agrofuels are granted special protection from future lawsuits by the “surface rights” and “use contract” clauses, undermining any process of returning lands taken by these companies and paramilitary groups. – According to the National Development Plan, of the 160.000 restitutions planned for the administration’s four-year term, only 11.000 will be conducted in 2012. Under the government’s “Action Plan” (“Plan de Choque”), now completed, only 1,005 hectares were actually distributed, proof that we are witnessing in Colombia a false model of land restitution. – There are currently 5 million internally displaced persons in Colombia, and approximately 10 million hectares of land have been stolen during the country’s political, social and armed conflict. – 0.4% of landowners own more than 60% of land, while 57% of the people own less than 2% of the land.
We call on victims in Colombia, exiled Colombians, social and popular movements, the student movement, womens’ organizations, and Afro-Colombian, farmer, and indigenous communities to mobilize on March 6, 2012, taking on the struggle to defend and continue to live on the lands and territories and against State-sponsored land theft.