The World Bank wants its gold mining project in Cajamarca, Colombia so bad, but the people that live in this small town voted against the mammoth South African-sourced project that would have probably changed their lives.
The locals from the small town were calling the project “Auntie Anglo-Gold”, which ironically is not only a stab at the ethnicity of the folks that were meant to profit most from the gold mining outfit, but is the actual name of the gold-mining company that already ripped some other small towns to shreds with its mining practices. AngloGold Ashanti is a company which was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The AngloGold company occupied Cajamarca for about ten years, simply in anticipation of moving forward on their billion-dollar project, but they surreptitiously denied with a single vote among 22,000 locals.
The national government promoted the project as necessary to overcome a long history of battle with Marxist rebels. There were thousands of illegal mining operations which funded the acts of terrorists and drug smugglers for decades. A lot of the gold mined in Cajamarca, as well as some other South and Central American countries can is bought by U.S. companies.
But, what is not known is that the simple, as well as farming life, is threatened by a gold-mine of such magnitude as AngloGold had in mind. In one report which was titled LaColosa: A Death Foretold, there were a number of negative outcomes of gold mining outlined before the town’s vote. Here are some of the alarming findings which they described:
- Foreign investors are almost always given preference for those mining operations over the local communities.
- The foreign company usually saturates the media with some well-funded advertising in order to try to win over locals and sway politicians in their favor to get permits which allow the project to occur.
- The projects usually divine local communities with purpose, and then they create a dependency on the activities of the company.
- The practices of the mining company are almost always damaging to the environment on large scale, making it almost impossible for the town to recover one when the mining project is completed.
- Valuable, as well as irreplaceable ecosystems as large as 100 hectares are often destroyed in a single gold mining operation.
- There is a minimum of 100 million tons of waste rock which is often created, and after that, it is deposited in valleys, but they are usually full of mining chemicals.
- There is no place for storing the toxic residue that is created by a gold mine, so it is often put back into the environment.
- The water, as well as electricity required for a project of any magnitude, is often far exceeded by the domestic consumption of any town.
- People that oppose a mining operation are considered a risk, usually chastised, harassed, as well as financially or socially ruined, and sometimes even murdered.
- Some “exclusions” to the Forest Reserve preservation rights were granted for mining operations, and just after companies were permitted to tear down the protected land are the residents informed.
- Maybe more than half of the members of political bodies were found to have direct financial ties to mining companies such as AngloGold.
- Despite the promises of a better life, the residents often have to face a higher cost of living, increased prostitution, and violence, as well as horrid environmental and working conditions, when a mining project gets underway.
The people that live in the small town say that they would rather continue to live a simple life, to cultivate their beans, bananas, as well as arracachas, the carrot-like vegetables which they regard as gold of their own. In a binding, legal referendum, they opted for banning all mining, fearing that it is going to contaminate the water, destroy the mountains, cause air pollution and hurt their community.