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Saturday, 14 May 2016 00:00

Referendum on mining activities to be held in Tolima

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One of the flags of the Mayor of Ibagué, Guillermo Jaramillo, is the preservation of water and the environment in the capital of Tolima.

In that sense, he is promoting a referendum on mining in the municipalityThe mining-related activities generate high damages to natural resources, particularly water, so communities, environmental organizations and political leaders have been promoting institutional mechanisms to address this threat.

Jaramillo, former official of the municipality of Gustavo Petro in Bogota, proposed to call for a referendum to decide whether people want to have mining activities in the municipality. The mining is carried out by multinational companies with high social and environmental impacts.

Also read: Defending the environment

The initiative was approved by the City Council last February with the following question: "Do you agree, yes or no, with activities in the municipality of Ibagué involving soil contamination, loss or contamination of waters, or affecting agricultural and tourist vocation of the town, resulting from the execution of mining projects?"

Ibagué seeks to stop the project La Colosa, where the multinational AngloGold Ashanti expects to extract million of ounces of gold in the coming years. According to various agencies, with the mining of La Colosa, the Coello River, which feeds the aqueduct of several municipalities with agricultural vocation of Tolima, will be affected.

colosa.jpg

This week, local media reported that the Administrative Court of Tolima gave green light to carry out the consultation. However, there is a risk that opponents of such measures, embedded in state institutions, carry out legal action to delay the consultation.

Both the Ministry of Mines and the Attorney General have expressed their opposition.

Also read: Macarena opposes oil exploitation

The Constitutional Court has already endorsed such initiatives. There is already a precedent: the town of Piedras, also in Tolima, in 2013 said "No" to mining in a referendum.

Should the consultation in Ibagué take place, it would be the first time a capital city holds this kind of consultation. The consultation would represent a breakthrough in the environmental movement and the communities of the region, whose agricultural potential is threatened by the arrival of multinationals.

Based on: http://prensarural.org/spip/spip.php?article19347

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